When I was younger there was a British tv show called Allo Allo set in occupied France about the French resistance. One of the characters, officer Crabtree, was actually a British agent and spent the whole time speaking, what he thought, was perfect French, but was actually often rude gibberish. Whenever I try and speak French somewhere lurking in my mind is the thought – do I sound like officer Crabtree?
So with that in mind I joined meetup.com a while back with the intention of practising my French. I must admit that every time one of their emails drop in my box a frisson of nerves run down my spine. You see I;
a. Don’t go out in the evening (young children)
b. Definateley don’t go out alone in the evening (young children, married) and
c. Definateley, definatley don’t go out in the evening, on my own to talk French. Definateley, definatelely don’t do that. Bit scared really. I know. Pathetic.
So it was with some trepidation that I clicked on the rsvp button to a date in just over two weeks on 19th February. Le Marie is away, so I don’t even know if it’s definatelely OK. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not some Neanderthal locking me in the house or anything. I mean in terms of schedules and what have you. I know he can’t come (young children – I know there are these fictitious things called babysitters, but, like unicorns, I’ve never actually come across them) so I’ve just rsvp’d with the hope it’s ok as I didn’t want to give myself time to chicken out. Not that I still can’t change my mind (as they say in secondary school – Buck, Buck, Buck).
Anyway, I thought I’d better focus so that it wasn’t too much of a disaster. So I’ve identified my main issues in speaking French in this situation so I can formulate a plan to kind of boost my expertise. The two main ones are;
a. Speaking and
b. Listening to people speak French. So this is going to be a success.
So this is my plan to get over these hurdles.
In the next eighteen days I’m going to attempt to;
- say every sentence in French first in the home before I say it in English, to get in the habit of talking in French. I can’t, for obvious reasons, completely swap to French, but I can make a concerted effort to do this. I try and do it with the little ones anyway and, as Le Marie is away, and they’re under 4 they’ll just think it’s one of my ‘Frenchie’ games.
- To watch a French programme every night to help with my listening comprehension. I actually bought the Desperate Housewives first season box set in France (should have just bought it in the UK and used the language options – doh). As I know the story this should help me in understanding what’s said. I need to really focus on it though, not just let it play in the background.
- I’m going to try to put everything I can into French over the next few weeks to submerge myself in the language. So my fitness DVD that I normally use can be played in the French language, my phone setting, the kids are only allowed to play French DVDs, CDs etc (which to be honest they’re doing at the moment anyway) – just basically anything I can think of.
- I’m going to try and study one hour of French formally each day to ensure I’m improving.
- Im going to
bore youblog about it to keep me on track.
Any helpful hints are welcome – wish me luck!