French Input

French the natural way : la Saint Nicolas

Coucou les French learners,

Bonne fête de la Saint Nicolas !

It is Saint Nicholas day today and where I live in Germany, it is a big event. My boys were dusting and shining their shoes for his coming.


Les bottes sont encore un peu sales ! Boots are still a bit dirty!

And guess what? Saint Nicholas came by and left some chocolates and a clementine in their shoes (because they were well behaved and their shoes were shining!)

La légende de Saint Nicolas

As I told you last year, le jour de la Saint Nicolas is also celebrated in the North East of France.On the morning of December 6th, if children are well behaved, they will get small presents such as chocolates and oranges. However if they are naughty, le Père Fouettard comes to give them coal. Fouettard comes from the verb fouetter, to whip!


Mes garçons ont été sages ! My boys were good!

The legend we are told in France is quite horrible but I remember I used to love it when I was a child. It is a fascinating story to children. I told it last year when I did the series on YouTube Noël en préparation.

There is also this popular song that I used to sing when I was a child:

Saint Nicolas also happens to be the patron of the city of Nancy, in the Lorraine region (where la quiche lorraine was invented). For 45 days, festivities are happening in the city with parades, food and illuminations.

One orchestra is la fanfare des enfants du boucher !

Les aventures de Marie et Médor

Are you following the Christmas adventures of Marie, l’artiste and Médor, son chien ? There are already 6 stories available to watch on YouTube and there 18 new ones coming!!!

Free French acquisition for all, yeah!

Don’t worry if you cannot watch each video, each day. It is not a challenge, it is a joyful process. Do what you can, honor where you are at.

Whether you binge-watch over the weekend or you manage to watch one story in a week, don’t be harsh on yourself, ENJOY!

#trusttheprocess

Today’s story is about Saint Nicolas bien sûr, of course! Marie & Médor are walking into the woods and soudain, suddenly something strange happens!

Be sure to share this new playlist with you family, friends, colleagues… Anyone who wants to acquire French naturally and joyfully!
Remember #inputaloneissufficient
Also, I love hearing from you so keep up sending me feedback. I am here to help you acquire French effortlessly.

Happy French acquisition!

P.S. The 30 scripts of the season 1 videos are still being proofread!!! Watch out for the eBook (pdf) release soon now!

 


French the natural way: honor where you're at

Coucou les French learners,

The title of today’s newsletter does not come from me. It comes from my favourite online yoga teacher, Adriene Mishler. Two weeks ago, I started the 31 days Yoga Revolution to get ready for Christmas and the 3rd day practice was Honor:

Accept and honor who you are and where you are each time you hit the yoga mat / acquire French. You are going to meet resistance, perhaps you already have. So today, instead of turning off, away or giving up -we not only accept where we are but practice honoring it.”

How many times do you get in a negative mode and you think:  ” je suis coincé “, I am stuck?


I am rubbish, I don’t improve, I don’t speak, I don’t dare

Speaking takes time, it is the result of listening and reading. 

Honor where you’re at in your French journey. Language acquisition takes time but the journey is SO worth it!

#trusttheprocess

Sois qui tu es

This fable is a popular one in France thanks to famous poet, Jean de La Fontaine who wrote it beautifully!

Avant Noël

It is now the end of season #4 but don’t be sad! Something exciting is coming very soon!

Starting tomorrow: new adventures with Marie, l’artiste et son chien Médor.

This was the very first video I published last year when I started my YouTube channel. The goal was to make French acquisition accessible to all for free. Since then, the channel has grown but the most popular video remains the first one with Marie and her dog, Médor. That is why my Dear Man and I thought of following them in new Christmas adventures.

Tu es prêt / prête ? Are you ready for 24 brand new stories right up till Noël, Christmas!!!

Be sure to share this new playlist with you family, friends, colleagues… Anyone who wants to acquire French naturally and joyfully!
Remember #inputaloneissufficient
Also, I love hearing from you so keep up sending me feedback. I am here to help you acquire French effortlessly.

Happy French acquisition!

P.S. The 30 scripts of the season 1 videos are still being proofread!!! Watch out for the eBook (pdf) release in December!


French the natural way: the Din in the head

Coucou les French learners,

Est-ce que tu as un vacarme dans ta tête ? Do you have a din your head?


There is nothing worse than silence, it precedes the din.

Involuntary Mental Rehearsal

Last week I read this interesting article published by Jeff McQuillan about the “Din in the Head”.

It was back in 1980 that “Barber reported a rising Din in her head; words, sounds, intonations, phrases, all swimming about in the voices of the people she talked with“. Barber was in Russia at that time and after a few days of exposure to Russian, she found that “sounds in her head became so intense that she found herself chewing on them, like so much linguistic cud… She had no control over what subconscious fed into her chewer each day“.

Since I started to have Story Listening sessions in German and in Latin too, I found myself experiencing the same phenomenon.

Tanya also experienced this involuntary mental rehearsal when she shared that after watching my videos “Unintentionally it continues to “sound” in your head. Very soon you understand that it not only “sounds” but also asks” you to repeat it! “Mets-le dans les commentaires” sounds like a song, and you pronounce it in a way the storyteller says it.”

Dr Stephen Krashen explains in the article that “the Din is a result of stimulation of the Language Acquisition Device (LAD), a sign that the learner is acquiring language“.

Therefore listening to comprehensible and compelling stories stimulates your LAD. There is nothing more to do to acquire another language… No word lists to deliberately memorize, no grammar rules to learn consciously… Just read and listen a lot!

#inputaloneissufficient

Un autre mythe grec

This week’s video is another Greek myth. Remember I told you a famous one in Season 3: le Roi Midas? Megan Hayes, a Spanish teacher in an elementary school tells this story too. It is so cute AND comprehensible!

It also happens that my Latin Story Listening teacher told me the Minotaur, another famous Greek myth. I was really much into the story and at one point I forgot, I was listening to Latin because I was so focused on what was going to happen. Greek mythology has stood the test of time. Myths are all about love, deception, revenge, happiness, betrayal… They are of universal interest.

That is why I like to tell them to provide rich, compelling, comprehensible auditory input for language acquisition. So here is the story of Pygmalion, a great artist who wanted to achieve perfection.

Tu aimes aussi les mythes grecs ? Do you also enjoy Greek myths?

I love hearing from you so keep up sending me feedback. I am here to help you acquire French effortlessly.

Happy French acquisition!

#trusttheprocess

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it :-)

P.P.S The 30 scripts of the season 1 videos are being proofread!!! Watch out for the eBook (pdf) release in December!


French the natural way: la Grande Guerre

Coucou les French learners,

Dimanche, Sunday, France commemorated the 100 years of the end of la Première Guerre Mondiale, the First World War.

Watch les moments forts, the big moments of the ceremony in Paris here.

Les films récents sur la Grande Guerre

Watching French films is a  good excuse to chill and get more input !

#inputaloneissufficient

Here is a selection of French films more or less recent about the Great War which I enjoyed watching.

Joyeux Noël

This film is truly beautiful and I bet you will end up crying at some point. It is based on the Christmas truce of December 1914, depicted through the eyes of French, Scottish, and German soldiers. La Trêve de Noël or Christmas truce was a series of widespread but unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front of World War I around Christmas 1914. Some will say the film lacks “the brutal details” but I found it depicted beautifully this moment of peace which actually did take place, among men who were then punished for it.

Les gardiennes

This film, released last year, takes the view of the women who were left alone working the land in France during the war, while the men were fighting. This richly compassionate, fiercely acted and beautifully shot drama is about another conflict, as women struggle to maintain a family farm in the Deux-Sèvres region of western France. The Great War was actually a turning point for women as they started to work like men. The film is slow and great to follow when you are a French learner.

Cessez le feu

In the early 1920s, Georges Laffont, traumatized by the horrific trench warfare, decides to leave his life behind and travel to West Africa into the vast territories of Upper Volta in the company of Diofo, artist and also survivor of the Great War. This film describes tenderly as well as cruelly the postwar psychological traumatisms. Main actor, Romain Duris is very good too.

Un poème : Familiale

Bien sûr, of course this weeks’ video is about la Grande Guerre, the Great War! It is based on a famous poem entitled Familiale by French poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert.

It is a bitter nonetheless realistic look at the effects of the war on people comme vous et moi, like you and me.

Read the story script, the poem and Jacques Prévert biography here.

I love hearing from you so keep up sending me feedback. I am here to help you acquire French effortlessly.

Happy French acquisition!

#trusttheprocess

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it :-)

P.P.S The 30 scripts of the season 1 videos are nearly ready!!! Watch out for the eBook (pdf) release in December! Here is a sneak preview of the table of contents!

 

 


French the natural way: how to aid comprehension?

Coucou les French learners,

La confiance, confidence is key !


“One earns confidence by drops and loses it by litres” Jean-Paul Sartre

Over the past few weeks, I have truly come to believe that gaining confidence is key to acquire another language. I already talked about it in my last newsletter. Many learners who I meet have lost confidence. From my own experience, I lost confidence in German. At this stage, it feels like, as a student, you are “on the defensive”, your brain is lockedStevick uses this term in his book Memory, Meaning, and Method.

Comprehension is the other key to unlock the brain and boost confidence. Once you understand some or most of another language, your confidence increases by BIG drops. Once your confidence increases, your brain opens itself to receive more input.

It is un cercle vertueux, a virtuous circle.

L’input optimal

Optimal input is comprehensible input to language learners. It focuses the acquirer on the message and not on form. To go a step further, the best input is so interesting and relevant that the acquirer may even “forget” that the message is encoded in a foreign language.

My goal as a second language teacher (I prefer to call myself language parent) is to help make input comprehensible and interesting.

I use supplementations to achieve this goal:

  • Drawings
  • Written Words
  • Gestures (Body Movements)
  • Mimic (Facial Expressions)
  • Synonyms/Antonyms, Suffix/Prefix, Parts of Speech, Word Families
  • Learner’s First Language
  • Slow & Clear Speech
  • Shorter, Easier Sentences
  • Quick Explanation about the rules of the Language. The explanation may make the input more comprehensible.
Source: https://storiesfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/SF_handout_supplements.pdf

Des exemples à la fin de sessions de français en ligne.

My amazing German teacher, Kathrin Shechtman wrote a thoughtful post on her perspective as a student learning French, the “traditional way” and Spanish with me (you can watch Spanish stories I told her which I recorded on my YouTube channel). She illustrated the supplementations beautifully:


Dr. Stephen Krashen & Dr. Beniko Mason, 2017 (Graphic: Kathrin Shechtman, 2018)

By using these tools, the “language parent” helps learners acquire more and gain confidence.

#inputaloneissufficient

Une histoire et un livre

As you may already know, Halloween is not my cup of tea!

However I did make a video about a spooky story Le doigt de pied poilu !

Gaining confidence in reading is also key. That is why it is best to start with easy readers. They are repetitive and simple and use many cognates and high-frequency words to make the book comprehensible. Jean-Paul et ses bonnes idées is perfect!

I love hearing from you so keep up sending me feedback. I am here to help you acquire French effortlessly.

Happy French acquisition!

#trusttheprocess

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it :-)

P.P.S The 30 scripts of the season 1 videos are nearly ready!!! Watch out for the eBook (pdf) release in December!


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