French the natural way: how to find comprehensible input?

Coucou les French learners,

I am so lucky indeed to be teaching amazing learners from all over the world! Check out my website’s map to find out where my learners come from.

My French learners are amazing because they understand the power of getting input consistently and over time. As I explained last week, the only thing you have to do as a learner is to understand the French input, to focus on meaning.

If you follow Compelling Input Productions on Facebook, you will read thoughtful posts about the process of language acquisition. One post which caught my eye was about a water polo game!

Robert Harrell who is a German teacher in the US explained that: “The father of one of the players was quite knowledgeable about water polo, and he commented on and explained various aspects of the game: strategy, penalties, change of possession, and more. It helped me comprehend the game better and thus enjoy it more. At no time did this father try to recite or explain the rule book. Instead, he commented on the rules that applied to a concrete situation and answered my questions.
This is a good analogy for teaching and learning a language. Students should observe the game (i.e. listen to the language with the intent to understand), ask questions as they arise, and get bits and pieces of the rules as they apply in a concrete situation. Later, students can begin playing the game (i.e. start speaking and writing) when they are ready.”

Observe the game

How to intend to understand French? The Word Wide Web is full of French input but it can difficult to find resources which are comprehensible to you, especially if you are a true beginner.

Here are some ideas:

  • Look for videos and audios which are at a slow pace. One learner said to me: “I find I enjoy listening to small children or to old people because they speak slowly in French!“. This is exactly what you should be looking for at first, people who speak slowly. This same learner mentioned an old Canadian TV series aimed at French learners which is bizarre but actually parfait, perfect for beginner learners! It is called Téléfrançais and you can watch all the episodes on YouTube.
  • Look for compelling input. In other words, input which interests you! For example, one of my learners loves poetry. She is reading Introduction to French poetry: A Dual-Language book by Stanley Appelbaum . She can read the poems in French with literal English translation on facing pages. What a wonderful way to get rich input and an insight into the French literature! If you like poems too, check out my folder on Quizlet with des poèmes français, French poems. You have access to the translation in English and you can also hear how the words are pronounced. C’est merveilleux, it is wonderful! Look at this simple yet beautiful poem about l’automne, fall by Anne-Marie Chapouton:

Un paquet spécial

Finally, watch my videos! They are comprehensible and fun to watch too! My last story is about a man called Samuel who has to deliver a special kind of package!!!

The story is in Paris, in the famous Rue Mouffetard which is a narrow street in the fifth arrondissement, le quartier latin. It is one of the oldest and liveliest neighborhoods in Paris and most of it is a pedestrian only street. It is featured in the film Le fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain and in one of my favorite books when I was a child La sorcière de la rue Mouffetard, et autres contes de la rue Broca by Pierre Gripari.

La Rue Mouffetard à Paris.

This story is based on “Good things, small packages” by Elizabeth Skelton and Denise Milligan from their book Putting it together.

You will acquire:
Il doit livrer un paquet = he has to deliver a package
Il se dépêche = he hurries
Vite ! = fast!
Il cherche = he looks for
Il ne trouve pas = he does not find

Let me know in the comments below whether you liked the story? Est-ce que tu as aimé l’histoire ?

Happy French acquisition!

A bientôt !

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 🙂

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