French Learning Challenge · Learning French

French Conversation Challenge; Ten Days In

imageI thought I’d give you a little update as to how I’m going with the challenge and whether I’m making any improvement.

Watching TV

So our to is totally broken ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ – apparently you’re not meant to spray a load of window cleaner on a LCD screen after your child has furiously rubbed babybel wax onto it. Who knew? (Erm, lots of people ๐Ÿ˜–).

However the nice people from John Lewis have left the repair television with us whilst we think about ordering a new one. As we now have a provisional moving month for July – depending on our family business being complete (exciting) it seems sensible think about whether we get one here or wait until we move?

Anyway the loan to has given me an opportunity to carry on trying to improve my listening skills with old DVD box sets. I flipped back and forward between French subtitles and language dub to just the French language; still can’t decide which is better to help. You see if I’m not tired I’m able to understand about 1/2 what’s said – if I rewind and replay I understand far more. However, and I don’t know this is because I was watching it after nine, I watched an episode last night and could only understand about a 1/4 of what was being said.

I think I am starting to see an improvement though and I’m really going to concentrate on watching an episode a day and see where I’m at in a weeks time.

Slow News

I spoke about this app in my last post on the challenge. There is some free content on the site. As its spoken more slowly I understand the story the majority of the time and I’m amazed when it turns out I did ‘get it’ when I check with the audio track.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I wonder if the app nature means that I can plug my phone into the speakers of the car as I drive along and listen? This will be good when La Belle Fille isn’t with me so I’m not tied to childrens French CD’s.

Michel Thomas

As I told you in my last post I’ve started to write my own transcript of this to help me understand it better. I was thinking about how I find it difficult, but teaching my daughter French gave me an insight into this.

You see she can read a lot of books in English and is now quite comfortable with it. I’ve started to read French books for children who are learning to read and, even though she can read the first two sentences, she quickly gets me to start to take over. We end up with me reading it French and her telling me what the sentence means in English. I realised she does this as she’s used to working at a higher, more comfortable level in English and to ‘go back’ to struggling for not as much gain can be emotionally challenging.

I think that’s the same with learning this advanced series. I keep comparing it to the earlier ones and wonder why I find it difficult – it’s because it’s advance dummy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, writing the responses is working out better and this new approach has unblocked me. It’s especially good as, using the language function on the iPad, the spellchecker corrects and prompts me. This is great as I feel confident in writing more – a skill I haven’t done as much of if I’m honest (reading is ok, but as I’m going to need to communicate I’ve concentrated on this more).


As I’ve started to move onto to more advanced French it’s getting difficult to study in the car for obvious reasons. One thing that I can do though is use my Vocabulearn CD’s. These are just lists of words in English and French translations. They work well at this stage as they’re simple and a memory jog for language I’ve been exposed to, e.g. through reading, but may not have memorised yet. When I originally started to use the CD’s some five years ago when I bought them they were difficult to master as I didn’t have a French context for them, which you need for wordlists to attach them, but my wider study now does. Also words I don’t know I am now making educated guesses for byย applying the rules I’ve learnt from Michel Thomas.


As I’ve started to speak more and more to my daughters in French it’s highlighting what I need to work on. For example with grammar points such as reflexive verbs I haven’t used these whilst speaking to others in French as I don’t tend to tell people in shops that I’m off to brush my teeth, obviously. So I now finding myself stuck the most on these areas.

On the other hand, for everyday things, I’m finding I can communicate most of time what I want to.

My first French session is Wednesday night. Three more sleeps!


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