French the natural way: is speaking good enough?

Coucou les French learners,

It is that time of the year when we remember our past and our ancestors. On Monday, the French commemorated the end of la Première Guerre Mondiale, the First World War, also called l’Armistice. Last year’s newsletter was all about that special day.

To understand better this part of History, French teacher Amy Rake Parsons shared this informative and comprehensible presentation about the Great War based on the article by Le Petit Quotidien (you can listen to it too!).

La tombe du soldat inconnu sur la Place de l’Etoile à Paris.

Le dormeur du val, written by young and gifted poet Arthur Rimbaud describes a young soldier who seems to be sleeping peacefully in a field. Rimbaud wrote this poem when he was only 16 years old. He didn’t see the tragic Great War but he was deeply moved by the first war confronting the French against the Prussians in 1870. La Bataille de Sedan marked the defeat of the French. Rimbaud lived in Charleville, just 25 kilometers away from where the battle took place. This poem is one of the most famous poems written by Rimbaud and such a beautiful one.

L’homme blessé de Gustave Courbet.

I remember learning it when I was at school. I had to recite it. Poetry recitation was part of the French education and I must say I can still remember some verses of famous poems I had to learn by heart. As a child, the teacher would call my name and I would have to stand up in front of the whole class and recite the poem. It was quite a nerve raking experience but it would also give a sense of pride… Once it was over!

I was and am fluent in French so having to recite a poem did have some benefits. However having to speak when you are not fluent in a language is not good enough!

SPEAK when you are READY

Having to speak in French or in another language when you are not ready DOES NOT facilitate language acquisition. In his paper about Comprehensible Output (download it here: comprehensible_output), Dr Krashen cites that “10 “anxious” foreign language students interviewed by Price (1991) stated that their greatest source of anxiety was having to speak the target language in front of their peers. Another source of stress was the frustration of not being able to communicate effectively.

Forced output where you have to use structures and words you have not yet acquired does not lead to fluency. In order to acquire the new structures and words, you need INPUT. In his paper, Dr. Krashen goes on by stating “numerous studies that confirm that we can develop extremely high levels of language and literacy competence without any language production at all.


Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to speak French! It means your brain has not yet received sufficient comprehensible input.

One online learner told me she already watched Season 1, first 14 stories. Words and sentences such as ” Il y a un garçon ” or ” Elle est contentecome out of her mouth naturally, without thinking. What an achievement! This particular learner did not rehearse those sentences out loud, she “just” watched my videos.

I also find myself speaking German now whenever I watch Kathrin Shechtman wonderful videos. She will start a sentence and I will NATURALLY finish her sentence! There is no pressure. I feel SAFE. If you are acquiring German like me, then watch this story and you will hear this girl at the back of the class speaking German naturally because she ENJOYS the stories. She knows Kathrin will not call her out and force her to speak!

Take your time. Speak when you are ready to and RELAX.

ECOUTER et LIRE pour le plaisir

LISTENING and READING comprehensible input is the KEY. Speaking is the RESULT of listening and reading. Speaking is not good enough. Speaking does not lead to language acquisition. Listening and reading DOES.


I have just finished recording a compelling story in collaboration with French teacher and writer, Theresa Marrama. I had so much fun reading out loud this intriguing story based on the werewolf legend in Louisiana! I hope you will feel the fear and mystery when you listen to the audio book available on the membership! I also try to read the story slowly and to pronounce distinctly to allow you to comprehend the story.

The book, Une disparition mystérieuse tells the story of Alice (!) whose best friend mysteriously disappeared in the marshes of Louisiana. Will an old Louisiana legen come to life? This story is truly compelling and comprehensible. PERFECT to acquire French effortlessly.

This is another fruitful collaboration with Theresa. I already recorded her cute book, Léo et Anton which you can listen to when you are a member of the French learners community.

More audio books are on the way and Theresa Marrama told me she is just finishing a new book you will LOVE for sure!

MORE comprehensible French input coming your way!!!

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. Les aventures de Marie et Médor à Paris continue until the end of the month. Free videos to watch every Wednesday and Saturday. YOUPI! To have access to the video scripts, be sure to subscribe for as little at 4.75 Euros/month.

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