Learning French

Teaching French To Children – Allouette

img_9090As I’ve said before La Belle Fille and I have been learning French since she had a good grasp of English; basically if she could say it confidently in English I started to teach it to her in French.

One of the best ways of teaching the French language to her, as with English, is song. The repetition and simplicity of nursery rhymes and childrens songs mean that French vocabulary is being ingrained easily by her. It also has the additional benefit of giving you some reprieve from the mind-numbing dullness of the repetition of English nursery rhymes by adding a challenge to yourself.

It’s so funny now to hear her sing these French songs now with, what sounds to me to me anyway, à Perfect french accent. I thought I’d make some posts on some traditional French songs with print outs of the lyrics and some background so if you wanted to this at home with your little one you can.

The first one is L’Alouette – you’re bound to know it. The song is based on the Lark (L’Alouette) and the singer’s desire to pluck it – probably as the result of their rude awakening!

You can get a print out if it here – L’Alouette.

horseriding · Just Moved · Learning French · Moving To France · Uncategorized

Learning To Ride A Horse In France

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When we arrived in France last August I was determined to increase my language skills. I thought that this wouldn’t be too hard being the mother of two young girls; surely there would be lots of opportunities to get together with other mothers and talk?

Nope, pas du tout.

I’ve since realised that the opportunities to do this in France are quite different to those in England. But I’ll go into that at another time.

So, I decided what better way to expose yourself to the language than to put yourself on the back of a huge animal, attempt to control it and try and listen to subject specific language at the same time. Yes, that’s the level of stupid I’m at sometimes.

This all started last year when it was La Belle Fille’s birthday. We didn’t know many people at the time and as we where staying in our friends gite I didn’t want to invite lots of kids round to our for a party. So I set her up with a horse riding lesson.

I’m so ignorant of the activity that I didn’t know that there’s actually an English style and a western style. So when driving past a sign saying that there was a pony club and the word ‘Anglais’ I stupidly thought that the option of the English language was available. Yes, again, that’s the level of stupid I’m at sometimes. Really.

I’d gone and arranged the lessons for myself on Thursday nights and La Belle Fridays. I thought this would give me the opportunity to experience it so I could talk it through with her first and allay any of her fears.

On my first day I didn’t realise that you were meant to arrive early to groom the horse, so everything was rushed, particularly as I didn’t have the necessary helmet etc (I was able to borrow one there). This is the difficulty in experiencing things for the first time in another language when you haven’t achieved a high level of fluency. Normally I would have gone somewhere to arrange lessons and been able to think of questions to ask; what do I wear for my first few lessons? What time should I get there? All those relevant things. However when your speaking in your second language you’re concentrating so hard on working out what the other person is saying that you forget everything else.

My first experience on a horse though was marvellous. I literally didn’t stop giggling like a fool throughout. It was exhilarating, and makes all the language difficulties worth while.

My instructor, Céline, finds it very amusing at times that she has an English woman in her class (much my parish priest when I was arranging La Petite’s baptism). I often hear her talking to other students or people in front of me. “All I can say in English is “go” or “stop”, but she says she understand!” I actually find these conversations she has pretty funny; I don’t know if she realises I understand what she’s saying.

She is very patient, repeating the same instructions again and again. I really appreciate that this adds a layer of complexity to the proceedings both for her and other members of the class and she’s born them with good grace throughout.

It was my language skills that created a situation within the class that was a little uncomfortable in fact. When I’d first started to ride they gave me a very docile horse, Teene, who is given to all new riders. However, she doesn’t want to trot. Great in some ways for a beginner, you can be confident that even in the training circle she’s not going to race off and cause a new rider a fright. But trying to get a horse who doesn’t want to go to do so, whilst you’re developing your language skills is hard. Each time Céline gave me an instruction I was having to translate it, whilst at the same time trying to get an animal to do what it didn’t want to do and then do what she was asking me to do.

In this occasion instructions were again being repeated over and over again and then a conversation ensued between Céline and some observers as well as other members of the class. Again Céline was saying, in a jovial way, what it was like dealing with someone who was English. Then she said that she didn’t speak a lot of English again, but this time one of the other learners said in French that she thought it was up to the people coming to live in France to learn the language. Two other members of the class became obviously uncomfortable whilst this conversation continued and, to be honest, so was I.

I had asked the same woman a few weeks before, on my second week actually, for help to put a saddle on (it’s quite complicated and you don’t get it first time). She had become a little brisk and when I’d said that she was very kind to help she’d replied “oui, trop gentil je pense” (yes, too kind I think) and had seemed put out.

When she’d said this recent comment she’d sounded quite stern to my ears, but to be honest I have misread the situation.

After the class my instructrice first asked in front of everyone if I understood and I’d said yes, but I was having to translate, then do the action and make the horse go which was difficult.

Then, as I was unsaddling the horse, one of the other women struck up a conversation with me about something in French, all my conversations at the stables are in French, and then added that her English wasn’t very good. I replied to her that I wanted to improve my French, but that it was ok as I did understand her. I again explained about having to translate and then do the action, as I’d been a little upset by the previous comments as I didn’t want people to think that I’d come to France without bothering to learn the language. Anyway we continued to have a conversation for about ten to fifteen minutes all in French and I think the other woman heard. The next time we met she was extremely helpful and seemed to my eyes a little uncomfortable.

The thing is, although I was put out at the time, I think that people who haven’t learntimg_8507 a second language and then attempted to function in it outisde of a classroom don’t know what it’s like and their expectations are therefore too unrealistic. For example, sometimes when things feel rushed and i don’t know what I’m doing I get flustered and lose my language skills. If you’re not a language learner you may not recognise this.

I remember years ago I was in a Wilkinson when a shop assistant had told three cashiers the story of some Polish people who had been locked in the store the night before – they’d been in the paint aisle and hadn’t heard the announcement. She finished each telling with the (very) loud declaration “Well, if they want to come to this country they should learn the language shouldn’t they?”

I was so annoyed listening to this as I’d already started learning French to move here and on my many visits had found it frustrating no matter how hard I tried. I still wish I’d said what I’d been thinking; “Don’t you know what it’s  like to learn a second language? They probably have learnt it, but as they’re concentrating on labels they missed the announcement over head.”

Uncomfortable situations aside the lessons have really helped to get me out and about and practise my language skills, but it is up to me to focus on subject specific vocabulary to make myself more able to participate. In defence of my classmate my difficulties sometimes means that there is an extra focus in the class and, if I start another new activity in the future, I’ll be sure to read up on it English first to give me some context and try to learn some key vocabulary. After all, she was right. It is my responsibility to learn; I agreed with her even as she was saying it (hence my being upset).

For any of you out there crazy enough to want to give it a go I’ve made these key word posters to go up our staircase for La Petite and I, you can download them here Horse Vocabulary.

Catholic · Just Moved · Learning French · Preparing The Children

Le Baptême

img_9040With our second move last year just before Christmas I got behind on my things to do list, namely arrange the baptism for La Jolie Fille. Originally we had wanted to have it done in our nearby cathedral, but as a more permanent move was on the cards we thought that it would be better to do it when we were involved more in a community.

Since our arrival in this corner of La Manche we’ve been going to our nearest church for mass and the congregation have been incredibly welcoming. It’s funny, but it’s the same parish that my husband and I visited over a decade ago and, as we where stood there, said how we’d like to live in France.

Each week the parish priest calls all the youngesters up to say The Our Father in the mass and he gets one of the older children to read a part of the liturgy. One of the first weeks we were there Le Marie was away and I was on my own with Les Petites. Trying to concentrate on mass in a second language, whilst trying not to kill your kids for being naughty, is no mean feat (only joking about the killing part, they’re adorable 😕) and I suddenly realised when I heard the word ‘poussette’ that the priest was talking to us.

The next week it seemed like their was a bit of an organised ‘get the poor strangers involved’ thing going on as one of the older men came up and offered to take La Belle up to the alter. It was so lovely to be invited in like that.

So today off I went to speak with the priest about the baptism and we have Easter Sunday booked with two other children being baptised in mass on the same day! That makes it even more lovely.

The priest (whose name I still don’t know, because I couldn’t quite make out the pronunciation) seemed intrigued to have English people as part of the congregation; there was no mention of any other English, so I presume we’re the only English in the village as Little Britain would say. He kept randomly stopping people in the parish office and asking “Do you speak any English?” and then having a little chuckle to himself.

He also said how the baptism service would be in French and asked if that was ok; so that’s me looking up the service to translate now then.

 

Learning French · Preparing The Children · School System

La Belle’s Success!

imageLe Marie and I have spent the last few days, with the help of friends, moving all of our things into our new French home. If the utilities are connected we think we’ll spend our first night in our new home tomorrow – I’m so excited. In the meantime I thought I’d take some time to tell you how La Belle Fille is doing in school.

When we first started to talk about moving out of our friends gite into our new home she was very apprehensive – she seemed to just stop talking French in school! It’s understandable considering she’s just five and her experience of moving has been to a different country.
Gradually, as we’ve talked more and more about the process and I’ve driven her to and from the house to her school to demonstrate its not that far she’s coming to understand that this time not everything will change. She’ll be able to stay close to her friends, in her school, near her grandparents – the world will not shift again!
As she’s realised this her speaking in French has increased once more. The other day she brought home a little note to say she’s spoken 50 French words in one day. Then I spoke with her teacher and had a really pleasant surprise.
I had started to teach La Belle Fille to read when she was about 2 1/2 years old. I used lots of Alphablocks episodes so she could identify how to spell basic cvc (consanant, vowel, consanant) words. However when we started to read together it became obvious that a good number of the most frequently used words are irregularly sounded and this can make it difficult to read a story unless you have a book written with that in mind. However, when you have those kind of book there is the additional problem that the restriction of such words means that there isn’t a real story, so for La Belle they held little interest.
So from the base of phonetics I moved onto the see and say method; remember Peter and Jane books? That’s see and say. It’s the repetition over and over of the most frequently used words so that they’re learnt by site. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, personally I think it’s best to use both as far as they’re  successful and then swap to the other when ea hot loses their utility.
By the time we moved here La Belle had very good reading skills. By that I mean she reads word dense books with intonation, sounding out new words until she has them right. As a result I’d started to teach her to read in French whilst Le Marie continued to read in English. My accent isn’t great, but I’m not too bad at pronunciation and I think that it’s best to do something rather than nothing because it’s not perfect.
This seems to have payed off! When I dropped La Belle off at school the other day Madame La Professeure asked me if she could move her up a reading group – La Belle’s class is composed of two age groups, hers and the year above. So she now reads with the year above!
When I asked Madame if this was just for English she said that no, this was for her reading in French. I was thrilled. I’d noticed more and more that she had started to read to her self in the French, but as she’s tends to hide what she’s doing until she’s confident in it I had been unable to ascertain just where she was.

She’s also started to imitate her French peers – her accent is perfect! “Oh maman, ce n’est pas juste” she’ll declare. I know that by the end of this academic year she’ll be correcting me left, right and centre!

Brexit · Learning French · Uncategorized

A-Z Of Brexit With Key French Vocabulary

united kingdom exit from europe relative image

As it others were I was stunned by the referendum result. My mother, attending church in the cathedral the Sunday afterwards, was met with points and exclamations of English afterward. These, thankfully, weren’t expressions of condemnation (despite France many in France being pro the result – #BonDebarras), but rather of shock. Her response “Oui, Je sais. C’est catastrophique!”

As I’m going to be taking my little one to play groups and other things for extended periods of time, and as an outsider, I’m becoming (perhaps irrationally) concerned with what to say if asked about it – as well as how to say it! So I’ve put together an a-z of Brexit things as well as some French vocabulary. Hope this helps you too!

A

Is for ashamed (avoir honte). Following the vote (vote) my Facebook timeline was filled with posts from people who were ‘ashamed to be British’. This was, apparently, because of the image of those who had voted for Brexit being what is described below.

B

Is for bigot (fanatique). As many who voted for Brexit stated immigration (l’immigration) as a major concern they have been termed as ‘Little Englanders’ (les petits anglaise) because of their suspected wish of wanting the UK (le Royaume-Uni) to be ‘for the British’.

C

Former MP Tony Benn smokes his pipe outside the Palace of Westminster, London, Tuesday 18 March, 2003, during the debate in the House of Commons on the possibility of war aganist Iraq. See PA story POLITICS Iraq. PA Photo: Matthew Fearn

Is for control (être maître) ; as in control of borders (la frontière), of the ability to make laws (les lois), and those responsible for the governing of the people to be accountable to the people. A phrase frequently repeated by those campaigning for Brexit, and best highlighted by Tony Benn’s quote;

 

“When I saw how the European Union was developing, it was very obvious what they had in mind was not democratic (democratique) In Britain, you vote for a government (le gouvernement) so the government has to listen to you, and if you don’t like it you can change it.”

C is also for contagion (la contagion). The fear that post Brexit other countries unhappy with how the EU is being run may themselves put a referendum to their people.

D

Is for degree (avoir une diplôme universitaire). The often stated difference between those voting to Bremain with those voting for Brexit was that the former had them and the latter didn’t. The inference being, of course, that Brexiters didn’t have the capacity (la capacité) to make such a monumental decision as they weren’t as intelligent (intelligent/e), or even stupid (stupide). See L.

Is also for diverse (divers/e). London, the most diverse in the number of cities which voted to remain, was contrasted to the areas voting for Brexit. The argument that those who had voted for Brexit didn’t live in such areas was evidence that, as they hadn’t experienced diversity, therefore were more susceptible to the lies of the Brexit campaign (presumably because of their lack of intelligence).

E

Is for the elite (l’élite). The referendum has been seen by many as a way to lash out at ‘the elite’ who are not touched by the impact mass immigration has had on others. In response to the point above it is argued that the elites – whilst enjoying cheap labour, a wide variety of cuisine and restaurants etc – don’t have to compete for resources as others do and actually live in leafy, wealthy areas. This was epitomised by the behaviour of Bob Geldof directed towards Nigel Farage. Hits focus on Farage, I would suggest, meant that he wasn’t sufficiently conscious the impact it was having on the fishermen (pêcheurs) with him campaigning (faisant campagne) against the EU.

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F

Is for fear (peur) as in project. Prior to the referendum many business leaders and financiers (including the head of the Bank of England) stated that following an ‘out’ vote there would be a financial crises (crises financières). World leaders such as Obama, Hollande and experts like the IMFs Christine Lagarde all reported financial devastation, lack of trade deals and the moving of border checks to this side of the channel.

On the Brexit side fear was in the form of masses of refugees (les réfugiés) (depicted on the now notorious Nigel Farage poster). It was this side of the campaign that was associated with the murder (le meurtre) of the MP Jo Cox.

G

As in mind the gap (un créneau). In this depressingly sad piece in The Guardian this writer eloquently describes it. His realisation as to the possible reason for the sudden growth in the hand washed car business (why invest in expensive machinery, when labour itself is so cheap) made me ashamed. Ashamed that the gap between the rich and the poor in my country had grown so much with us only paying passing attention to it. A commentor below the line in this piece, despairing of the affect Brexit would have on her children, was angry and bewildered. She’d voted all her life to pay higher taxes, she said, to help such people. Yet she was still angry at them for voting out.

I was struck by how our sudden unease and fear that Brexit had unleashed was nothing in comparison to generations of people let down by successive Labour and Conservative governments. This feeling has probably been their predominant feeling throughout life.

H

Is for Home Secretary, or Theresa May, reportedly a shoe in for the Conservative leadership and therefore Prime minister. May, who has overseen immigration ironically, has expressed euro sceptic sentiments previously. Nevertheless she, grudgingly, backed Bremain. She has committed to invoking article 50 (l’article 50) and has caused doubt as to whether foreign nationals would be repatriated following the Article 50s completion and British exit from the EU (le rapatriement). This is despite repeated statements by Brexit campaigners that no such thing would happen following the referendum. Whether she is doing so to look tough, to appeal to those she sees as xenophobic rather than just doubtful about mass migration or as a bargaining chip in the negotiations remains to be seen. What is certain is that such statements causes anxiety not only for those foreign nationals (les ressortissant étranger) living in the UK, but UK nationals living in other member states.

I

Is for integration (l’intégration) too. For some the response of France was seen as an inevitable result of England’s self designated thorn in the side role of the European rose. In England it had always been for some a project economic, not social and our constant ‘No’ to treaties where a roadblock to the desired integration wanted by the other countries.

J

Is for Johnson, Boris. The blonde haired buffoon or bro, depending on your perspective. Seen at first as the hero of the Brexit campaign (or power thirsty, backstabbing, opportunist) he delivered a Hollywood worthy ‘Independence Day’ speech just before referendum day (le discours). After the shock result he was pictured looking, it can be interpreted, in shock (un choc). It must be said that this opinion can be further substantiated by his sudden disappearance (la disparition) following what should have been his victorious (victorieux/euse) hour. His subsequent column, apparently edging away from some of the wilder referendum claims, resulted his own ‘et tu Bruté’ moment, when his own back was apparently stabbed by Gove.

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J is also for Junker, whose response following the referendum and to his first meeting with Nigel Farage post it, would suggest he is not entirely unhappy (malheureux/euse) with the situation. In fact, post result he was calling once again for closer union (plus proche union) and the U.K. to invoke article 50 as soon as possible. However Angela Merkel, amongst other leaders, appears to be dissatisfied with his political skills (compétence de politique). In fact there have been calls that he, as well as Tusk, should stand down for the handling of the pre-referendum negotiations (les négociations).

K

Is for the kingdom and whether we’ll stay united. Following the result Scotland (l’Écosse) and even London (Londres) questioned their sense of belonging to the rest of the nation and discussions were had as to whether we would remain together as a United Kingdom. At present Nicola Sturgeon’s hope of remaining in the EU have been quashed, but her hopes of a second Scottish referendum are burning brightly once again.

L

Is for lies (le mensonge) – an accusation thrown at the Brexit team. imageIt’s said with their misrepresentation of the amount of money given to the EU, their claim this would be spent on the NHS, the reduction of immigration etc that the Brexit team misled voters who were therefore unable to make such a complex decision.

In retaliation Brexit claimed that remain were fearmongering with their predictions of economic doom, affects on pensions (seen to be attacking those most likely to vote out) and even, ultimately world war 3 (or a version thereof).

M

imageIs for markets (les marchés). Prior to the vote Mark Carney had warned that Brexit could spark a second recession. On the morning of 24th June he announced to a jittery market that the Bank of England had prepared, developing the monetary resources required to balance the market. At the close of the working day on the Friday the markets, that had taken a severe hit in the morning, returned to a higher level, but have fluctuated since. Carney has since intervened several times to much praise.

Interestingly the European markets have been negatively affected to a greater extent; perhaps because of the already ailing euro.

In the days following the vote George Osborne was nowhere to be seen (Boris Johnson was also M.I.A to a large extent). Since the result he has started to woo other markets, saying the UK is still a stable place to invest money. New Zealand has offered to lone us trade negotiators, (Les négociateurs commerciaux) as we don’t have the people skilled to do so having our trade agreements (L’accord de libre-échange) negotiated through the EU. China has since said that ongoing trade negotiations are taking too long and Brexit has resulted in a possibility of developing a closer relationship with the U.K. instead.

Our trade relationship with the USA is in doubt (le doute). The trade agreement with the EU is faltering due to Brexit, however Obama’s advisor Scultz has said that we will be at the back of the queue – but some see his later statements calling for calm as confirmation that this isn’t the case. Nevertheless the forthcoming presidential election means that there will be a new head of the ship, and already Paul Ryan and other US senators have called to support the special relationship through trade deals.

In short, we won’t know the outcome for some time yet on our economy.

N

N is for nationalism (le nationalisme), which appears to be on the rise prior to and following the referendum. In countries such as Austria the far right is gaining ground and a narrowly fought election is being re-run in October. 

In my beloved France too the result was met with glee from Marine le Penn and it now appears to be feeling next year’s election, as well as other countries. 

O

Is for Osborne who completed off project fear with e forecast of dire proportions relating to the possibility of Brexit. He predicted severe budget cuts following our departure from the EU. Following Brexit he’s offered tax reductions to countries to attract the to/remain in the UK, to further chagrin of the EU itself. 

P

Is for parliament (le parlement) and its role out referendum. Having been touted as a definitive referendum on the European question, it’s now being argued that it is only an advisory position, and that parliament itself is sovereign. Amongst the demonstrations and petitions to call for another referendum or its lack of authority due to lies told, no plan in place etc, a group of anonymous business has got together to put forward a court case to challenge the referendum’s inevitability.

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P is also for the European Parliament, which its subservience to the commission. It is said that the heads of various national government’s, including Angela Merkel, insistence of leading the Brexit negotiations as opposed to the commission was based on their having being elected. This democratic deficit, long talked of in the European Union, may finally be being challenged post Brexit.

Q

Is for the Queen (la reine) who was reported to have made known her dissatisfaction with the EU at a dinner party with Gove and Nick Clegg, but who later challenged the report. However, just prior to the referendum date did not refute the report she was asking at dinner parties for guests to tell her three things we gained from membership of it. Like her subtle statement prior to the Scottish referendum, this was seen as an anti EU statement, as her majesty is known to be more in favour of the Commonwelath which comes second best to the EU. As a closer federalised state, with all members becoming citizens of the EU, would call into question the monarchy’s (la monarchies) standing, this isn’t too much of a stretch.

R

Is for refugees, landing on wealthy European shores each day. As noted under T, the crises and its handling has ramifications on Brexit and throughout Europe. However, there is no doubt that pictures of a three year old drowned child have affected many in Europe. Angela Merkel’s response has been criticised and praised, but her unilateral decision has ramifications for all of Europe and has shown the weaknesses in a union with such distinctive countries.

S

Is for society (la société). Those areas voting for Brexit were identified as predominantly white, working class (la classe ouvrière ). Along with arguments raised under B and X one of the explanations given for the surprise result was that the free movement of people (La libre circulation des personnes) attributed to the European Union has meant that unskilled workers from poorer countries have immigrated to the UK. These workers are willing to accept far lower wages, therefor deflating the wages of those already here due to the nature of capitalism.

It can be argued though that it is the capitalist nature of society, unlike the socialist society of the French, that has led to this position. In France there is a protectionist culture (la culture protectiotnniste); welcoming newcomers that can support themselves, but willing to pay higher prices and wages to ensure that all have the dignity of work.

T

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Is for terrorism (le terrorisme). A fear of the attacks in Paris as well as other European and Western societies being repeated was present and highlighted by that poster. Angela Merkel’s response to last summers refugee crises and the subsequent terror attacks that could be related back to it was seen as a direct threat to the European nations security due to the schengen zone. Subsequent efforts to stop the movement of people has led to the possible inclusion of Turkey into the zone in the coming years, and certainly giving its citizens access to the schengen zone now. This has further unnerved people. One of the debating points prior to the referendum was whether being a part of Europe increased or negatively affected our security.

U

Is for unemployment (le chômage), particularly of the young, in the UK and throughout the EU –  in Italy, Greece and Spain amongst other countries. Free movement of people has been said to deprive poorer countries within the EU of their most enterprising, who leave to go to the richer nations for a better life. However this is argued to leave already struggling nations without the ‘resource’ (I hate talking about people in this manner) to develop their nations, and with an increased pool of labour that can be paid relatively little (see W) the rich nations within the EU become richer, whilst the gap between the rich and the poor within those nations becomes wider.

In addition creating a continent of essentially migrant workers also needs a larger welfare state to fulfil the roles that an otherwise closer community, with strong family ties for young families, would fulfil. In an era of austerity this may be hauling to some.

V

V is for vote, as in who has it. Prior to the referendum there was a court case deciding who had a day and who didn’t – with many ex-pats dissatisfied with the result. 

W

Is for workers rights (les droits). Many felt that the EU was the best way to stand against right wing business interests and nation states (see N). It is often stated that European laws protect maternity rights and other workers rights in general.

However France’s recent demonstrations against changes to working hours, including 0 hours contracts, along with the treatment of Greece suggests that the EU does not protect rights as we would wish.

X

Is for xenophobia, see b. Following the referendum there has been reported that a  increase in racism towards foreign nationals has been reported. 

Y

Group of young protesters gather to protest that at 16 years old they were too young to vote in Westminster outside the Houses of Parliamant following a Leave vote, also known as Brexit as the EU Referendum in the UK votes to leave the European Union on June 24th 2016 in London, United Kingdom. Membership of the European Union has been a topic of debate in the UK since the country joined the EEC, or Common Market in 1973. It will be the second time the British electorate has been asked to vote on the issue of Britain's membership: the first referendum being held in 1975, when continued membership was approved by 67% of voters. The two sides are the Leave Campaign, commonly referred to as a Brexit, and those of the Remain Campaign who are also known as the In Campaign. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

Is for the young (les jeunes), said to have been robbed of their future by the elderly (l’ancienne). Those in the 18-24 category voted for Bremain, it is said, in total by 75%.  Since the election there have been demonstrations (le manifestation) to overturn the vote (see P) predominantly attended by the young. It is argued that those with fewer years, who will therefore not have as much time to live through the ramifications, have voted for Brexit.

However, it has also argued that only 36% of the young actually voted.

Z

Is for the zone; euro that is. Despite the assertion that workers rights are protected by the European Union it’s certainly true that the financial crises and its impact on the eurozone has meant that heavy programmes of austerity (l’austérité) has left Greece reeling, and it’s democratically elected government challenged by the EU. In Italy too, as well as France countries have said to be unable to respond to their own needs, caged in the euro network.

Lou Messugo
Learning French · Teaching French To Children

TFTC; Learning The Weather (Free Print Out)

 

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La Belle Fille has already learnt the days of the week and knows her numbers quite well; but as with all things unless she constantly uses them they’re forgotten. So when it came to teaching her the weather I introduced the day, date and season at the same time. It’s a similar pattern that’s used each morning in her pre-school too.

She loves the bright pictures in the illustrations (which, as always, I’ve just found from the net – so if anyone wants me to take them down please let me know). Here is some guidance for those of you who may want to give it a go ( the free printout is here Weather)

  • If you are saying the day, date and month it needs to be introduced as, for example, ‘C’est lundi, 31 mai‘. If you want to say the date on its own you use this format, ‘C’est le 31 mai‘. Notice that all numbers, except the first of every month, are cardinal numbers i.e. they are said on their own, not in the format of 31st. The first is always ‘le premier‘, which I’ve put in numerical form; ‘C’est le premier mai‘.
  • The days of the week, months and seasons do not have capital letters.
  • The season has been written as ‘the‘ for the article + season. The spring, even though it’s written with an ‘s‘ in French, is singular. If this were in as the article all seasons would have ‘en‘ for the article, apart from Spring which would have ‘au‘.
  • I’ve added a number for 31 dates as it gives an opportunity to practise saying them in French by showing lots of them before finding the date. You may want to save on your printing bill by just doing 0-9, with 1-3 printed twice.
  • I haven’t used commas, as these can be confusing for children at first and as La Belle Fille is only 4 1/2 years old I don’t want to overload her.
  • The task can easily be broken up to start with the day, date, season first and then move onto weather or visa versa.
  • With the weather there are the symbols and statements – however there are imagemore statements than weather symbols. This is because some of the statements use adjectives, for example ‘Il pleut beaucoup’, as well as general statements about the weather such as ‘Il fait beau‘. I started with saying what each weather statement was in English and then having her choose the corresponding symbol. Then I started to just say what the weather statement was in the French and she chose the symbol without the translation. After we’ve put the laminates on our new white board (my parents door) I ask her the question in French and she reads the response.

Within 2-3 days she’s dropped the majority of English translations and learnt the adjectives – so it appears to be a successful activity. As always, feel free to give me any feedback.