French Learning Challenge · Learning French

French Conversation Challenge; Three Days In

As I said at the end of my last post on this subject my broken tv has meant that I’ve had to think laterally to develop my weakest area; listening in French. These are the things that I’ve been doing the last three days though.

Michel Thomas

I’ve reviewed him here, here and here so you’ll already know that I’m a fan of the Thomas. However this final CD is written and presented by someone else. I’ve only briefly touched on how this has been going as I’m going to review this course, the vocabulary one, once I’ve finished. However I’ve got to say that it’s so dense that I’m finding it hard to work with. In fact areas of it have been so difficult that I think it’s over exposed me – you know what it’s like when you study too long or too hard? Brain freeze? Well unfortunately this is what has happened with this course.

My time off the challenge due to various circumstances has enabled me to come back to the course a bit brighter, refreshed and with a new technique to approach it. One of the difficulties with the course is that when you get to an intermediate level of French like this it’s really difficult to be confident with what you’re learning with audio alone; you need the visual. Unfortunateley this is the one course where the accompanying booklet is not thorough so you don’t have the ability to double check you understand what they’re saying.

As a result I’ve actually resorted to, in effect, writing my own accompanying booklet to help me develop my understanding. This is actually a good thing because I’m processing the topic when writing the French too. I’ll share the pdf I’m making when I’ve finished the review.

Reading and Speaking Out Loud

I’m not only reading the Agatha Christie I have in French, but I’m reading French to my little girl too. She already knows how to read English quite well, so I’m starting to introduce her to the French using a ‘see and say’ technique.

This works for me in that I’m having to say the words out loud so I’m practising prononciation. As I’m reading the same book each time it’s getting easier and easier to say.

I’ve also been praying in French. This is adding to my prononciation, as I say the prayers out loud, and developing my knowledge of grammar as prayers tend to use future and past tense a lot.


There are two free ways I’ve found to develop my listening skills. The first you can access in either an app or on the web here; it’s called news in slow. It’s news, said slowly, in French. There, that can’t be clearer can it?☺️

The next is my secret, embarrassing way of learning French. I’ve managed to find Charmed in French for free on the net. I used to love Charmed; although it has to be said a lot of my love was for the house and Cole. I was in my twenties!

Anyway I’ve happily been trying to follow what’s being said in French without subtitles – which is hard anyway, but especially difficult with Charmed as

  1. the house distracts you (ooh, lovely lamp – what did she just say)
  2. the fench dubbed voices sound really deep to my ears and all the actrices sound similar and
  3. they talk about demons and, even being the raving catholic that I am, I’m not up on my magical French.

But I can gather enough of what they’re saying to keep me interested and that and the house keeps me going.

Am I too old to want to live in the Charmed house? Here, see for yourself…




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