French Learning Challenge · Learning French

French Conversation Challenge; Day 1


Wow; this is hard! I can’t believe how tired I am. I just thought I’d put my initial thoughts about trying to submerse myself in the language down.

Changing My Language Setting On Media

I put all the setting for my iPhone, iPad etc in French and at first this seemed like a really good idea as it builds your vocabulary. There are constant reminders of words you know. So in your email system there are words that you’d presume would be there like envoyer to send email. However there are also plenty that surprised me but that made sense like corbeille instead of trash or boîtes for boxes and some words that I knew, but wouldn’t have expected to have them used to denote those functions like réception for the inbox, déplacer for move to etc. I just really liked having these little windows into how the French have labelled things for some reason.

However the downside of this is that when you come to  actually write something, like this post or a text, the predictive text is in French too and I don’t know how to turn that off.* So, you know when you’re writing something and you know you’ve said the right thing but it keeps ‘helpfully’ changing it for you (particularly annoying when you haven’t kept checking it and find a completely different meaning for something you’ve written) well times that by every. Single. Time. You. Write. A. Word. Ahhhhh!

So, obviously, for this post I’ve switched Back to English, but I will go back to the French once I’ve finished. This is mainly because even when you’re writing an email you’re having constant reminder prompts of the French language – even if they’ve got nothing to do with what you’re writing. It’s sort of a mini, pop quiz.

*NB I’ve just realised that on an iPad you can actually do a preferred language order, which brings up a little world symbol where your emoticon symbol is, allowing you to switch your key board between languages – great for when you’re using both!


Talking In French All Day

Remember how I once said that I said a sentence in French and then in English and visa versa to my daughter? Well I obviously don’t do this as much as I thought! I was amazed by how easily I forgot to keep speaking French and reverted back to English.

Obviously this is an unnatural setting so there isn’t immediate feedback to remind you to speak in the other language, but it was hard to stay focused on doing – it particularly as I was having an early spring clean in my kitchen.

When I did speak French it was really helpful. It’s evident to me now that, even though I’ve learnt a lot of French and regularly practise the Michel Thomas courses, I’ve almost learnt it by rote and so it’s a little scary to branch out and make up my own sentences even in this environment. There were times when I forgot words that I would never forgotten when speaking along with those CDs, because I know the sentence. Suddenly a new sentence made me doubt my knowledge, and sometimes things I knew completely slipped my mind.

However I did do it and it was helpful. So, for instance, when I was unsure I put it into google translate to double check that I was saying things correctly – this was where having the setting on French language did help. So although on my first day I wasn’t doing it as constitently as I’d like, what I have done seems to benefitting me.

The other person who it’s benefitting is my eldest daughter who thinks this is all some big game! It has prompted her to ask questions all day; “and what’s this in French?” Thankfully most of the time I’ve been able to tell her, giving me confidence that my vocabulary is wider than I thought. I was having to reach back in my mind for words for toast which I never use in French (you don’t tend to go into a shop and ask for it) and when I checked I was using the right ones!

Because she’s four she was also a great asset due to the ‘what are you doing?’, ‘why are you doing that?’ questions which prompted me to speak more anyway.

I know, get a pre-schooler isn’t exactly a great tip 😛.

Watching French TV

I actually had on my Michel Thomas CD’s on or a French movie in the background whilst I cleaned today, but I’ve got to say I don’t think I’m going to be able to watch a programme in French tonight without subtitles as I’m just too tired! Literally, I feel like falling asleep. It’s 5.30! I can’t because my small children are still up. Yes, that’s the only thing stopping me!

What I will do is read in French which, as its at my own pace, is a lot easier and is something I’ve done a lot of. I’ve also finished anothe section of the Michel Thomas Vocabulary Builder course and will do some more of that at my own pace.

Then – to bed early!


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