Coucou les French learners,
This week, I got a good question from a new member who struggles to acquire French. This new member wants to remain anonymous and he is a total French beginner. He commented in the Chat:
I’m struggling to understand anything without translating every single word. This translating is a headache very long process. The biggest problem is understanding even if you can speak. I am so confused how we, as babies, understood our first language. How did we really do it? Is it all about unconscious remembering when we are asleep? Is this the secret of it all?
These are very good remarks because as adults, we tend to have forgotten how acquisition happens. We didn’t learn how to walk. We didn’t learn how to run. We didn’t learn how to speak. We acquired all those skills. Watch my video on YouTube – Comment acquérir le Français naturellement ? #4 Acquérir
Then this new member asked me:
Is it okay to translate words and sentences at the beginner stage of acquiring the language? My only language is English. I have always struggled to acquire and understand any language. I have tried Arabic, Spanish and now French and I have never acquired any of these 3 languages.
If you feel like this particular learner, if you have tried different languages and you think it is not possible to acquire a language, do not despair! It is possible but it is a journey. It takes time. You need to receive a very large amount of input to acquire any languages. But remember, your brain is wired to acquire a language.
Here is my response:
YES, It is totally OK to translate words or sentences when you are a beginner acquiring French. In fact, it is normal!However, you should try not to translate everything because it is going to get tedious! The Baby Stage is designed to have few vocabulary in each session so you don’t have to spend your time translating. In each session, words and structures are repeated and recycled so that your brain absorbs them without you having to make an effort.Start by watching the first session of the Baby Stage. The first time you watch it, you might want to translate everything but look at my drawings, my gestures and facial expressions and just enjoy the video. Then watch it another time, another day and it should be less of a struggle. Watch this first session many times until you feel like not translating everything. Then go to the next session.
I had a PRICELESS moment last week. It was a video of you explaining the acquisition process. There was a point in the video when you said, “And now I am going to speak in English”. The priceless moment was that I hadn’t realized you weren’t speaking English because I was so effortlessly understand what you were saying French!
QUOI DE NEUF ?
My Dear Man and I, we are working hard to get the Teen Stage finished.
This stage is carefully crafted for novice high/intermediate learners. In the Teen Stage, you get to write a diary in French, how exciting!
Writing is an excellent way to start outputting or producing in French in a non stressful environment.
Why ? Because it is an activity you do on your own, at your own pace. There is no pressure to respond to someone else. There is no stress. You write what you want, when you want. Writing helps you produce in a relaxed, stress free atmosphere.
In each session, I answer a question about myself like where I live, what I do during the day, things I love and things I hate… I type my answer on a document and comment it as I go along. When I type the sentences, you can copy them in your most beautiful handwriting. This helps you develop automaticity over French prosody. Your hand is the extension of your brain so handwriting will help you develop fluency.
Then you can read aloud with me at your own pace. The part of the text I am reading is now highlighted so that you can follow through easily.
When the session is over, you can write down your own answer about yourself. BUT don’t worry about the spelling or the grammar. Let it flow. You will be impressed at how much you can produce in French already.
What I appreciate so much about the Teen Stage is the personal touch, approach. Alice, I feel like we are visiting in person sharing our thoughts over a cup of coffee.There is much creativity & dialogue in each lesson. I also appreciate that the writing is in first person & in various tenses. That really helps me.
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!
P.P.S Come and connect with other members in the community during the Saturday live Community Session! It is an opportunity to share your journey acquiring French as these calls are driven by the members themselves. Karel, Diane, Tina, Paula, Lauren, Graham will welcome you warmly! #youarenotalone
Join me live on Saturday, October 15 for 30 minutes of French actions. Let’s move and acquire French! Everybody is welcome!