Coucou les French learners,
Il pleut, il pleut bergère… It is raining, it is raining sheperdess…
It is a popular song for children which has its origins in a French opera or opéra comique written in 1780 by Fabre d’Églantine.
When you listen to the song and you read les paroles, the lyrics, the shepherdess refers to the French queen Marie-Antoinette who loved to play the shepherdess in the Hameau de la reine of the Palace of Versailles. The rain and the storm coming could be an allusion to the troubles that led to the French Revolution. Some years later, d’Églantine hummed it on his way to the guillotine!
It is actually raining a lot here in Portugal. It is damp and cold! Looking at the window whilst writing the newsletter, I am longing for a ray of sunshine and a beautiful rainbow! Pourquoi pas ?
Right now, speaking German confidently seems as distant as a rainbow and you may feel the same about speaking French with confidence, n’est-ce pas ?
However, I am 100% confident I will get there and so you will. Comment ? How?
Follow those 5 simple steps!
ACCEPT that French is bizarre ! French is a weird language (like any other languages, even your mother tongue!). Of course, there are many grammar rules and you will find patterns in the French structures. But most of the times, there are exceptions to the rules! And often times, French doesn’t make sense at all!
For example, if we have a look at French spelling and pronunciation, they don’t match: why is “-eau” prononced “-o” ? And why is “-ent” at the end of a conjugated verb in the present tense like “ ils aiment ” not pronounced at all?
It is easy to want to find an explanation to every single weirdness and it is easy to get stuck on trying to speak French properly. Instead of trying to find a reason for everything, MOVE ON & ENJOY!
Remember a language is a tool to communicate. When people in front of you understand what you are trying to say, you win!
La mentalité, the mentality you have makes a big difference between failure and SUCCESS.
Change the way you think of yourself: instead of thinking: ” j’apprends le Français, j’étudie le Français… I am learning French, I am studying French “, think: ” j’aime le Français, je parle français… I love French, I speak French“.
Your ATTITUDE is KEY. It will make you feel more confident and help you use the French you already know more effectively.
PRENDS DES RISQUES
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, TAKE RISKS!
Remember, the French language is only a TOOL to communicate. Although French people have the reputation of not being very tolerant with errors, I can guarantee they will appreciate you making an effort to speak French!
In order to speak well, you must LISTEN well!
Speaking is the RESULT of listening to French input you COMPREHEND. When you listen to native-French speakers, focus on understanding the MESSAGE. Do not focus on understanding what every single word means, focus on the MESSAGE.
The MORE you listen, the EASIER it gets to understand, the MORE confident you are to speak French.
My new series of videos on YouTube is perfect to listen and try to understand language which may be slightly above your level. The story this week is about Marie and her dog Médor wandering in the streets on Paris and meeting a talking statue! When you watch the story, you are encouraged to use natural learning strategies such as guessing words from the drawings, gestures, context and inferring meaning.
Remember, DO NOT get stuck if you don’t understand a specific word, MOVE ON. Your goal is to understand the STORY.
The script is available to read when you become a member! PLUS you get to listen to my Dear Man‘s voice reading the script! Watch the video and read & listen to the script or read & listen to the script and watch the video.
Reading is POWERFUL.
Reading is THE big advantage we have over babies and toddlers acquiring their mother tongue. It enables you to acquire new vocabulary and structures subconsciously.
You don’t need to study! Put the grammar textbook away and read for pleasure instead. ENJOY!
Start reading short texts first. Subscribe and get access to hundreds of comprehensible and compelling stories. For as little as 4.75 per month, read AND listen to all kind of stories. There are new stories EACH WEEK so you never get bored! Have a look at the tutorials to see how it works.
Read and listen to one of the new stories this week. It is a fun one with high frequency structures: Eric is vegan but things don’t go as well at a Thai restaurant in Paris!
A member of the French learners community, Marsha Kelly commented on the story: “Fun story. Love your narration. It is so clear and well spoken. Your speech helps me practice my pronunciation. Merci.”
Claire Walter is so generous to write and publish for free books in simple French adapted for language learners. To celebrate Indigenous People Day on Monday, a new FREE reader is now available to read, Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson. It is the story of a Native American woman and it is adapted in comprehensible and compelling French.
You see, it is SIMPLE: accept, change, take risks, listen & read!
Happy French acquisition!
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!