French

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by BirdinMo, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. BirdinMo

    BirdinMo Member

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    So I have it in my head to learn french, no clue why it just hit me that I want to learn it to know it. Anyone got any advice on the best way to learn it?
     
  2. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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  3. D_T_Frothingill_Bellows

    D_T_Frothingill_Bellows Account Disabled

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    Rosetta Stone is amazing

    but if you don't want to use that the best way is immersion.

    If you're just trying to learn to speak it, start learning an speaking it. One girl i know was trying to learn spanish and she changed her cellphone to only display is spanish, so she was always reading it.

    you can also do that with your computer (keep a click by click track of how you did it, in case you want to change it back and can't read quite well enough to do so)

    but if you really want to learn how to read, write, and speak it, you're going to need as much TOTAL immersion as possible
     
  4. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    The best way to learn French is to go there and learn it. While that might be said for just about any language out there, it's the only way with French.

    Just about anywhere else, even awful attempts at speaking the local language are appreciated by the local population. That is not frequently the case in France and certainly not in Paris. The French will quickly correct you, become frustrated with your impudent attempt to speak their language, and begin prattling away in English just to cut the time they have to deal with you. They vastly prefer you to speak English instead of French simply because you cannot possibly speak it as quickly and accurately as they can speak English. Even if your grammar and pronunciation are technically excellent, they will frequently claim to be unable to understand you and, again, start talking to you in English. I was even sent over to France to learn French and spent the vast majority of the time speaking English simply because I spoke French too slowly, didn't understand idioms, or because I was obviously American.

    The further you get from Paris, the more polite people are about it, but in the end, the only people who will tolerate your bad French (again, even if you got A+ in French in school) are people who didn't learn English and most of those people are now quite old.

    It's a great language to learn, it's mellifluous and pleasant to the ear, but unless you've got a true French accent and are very familiar with colloquialisms and idiomatic phrases, you're not likely to get much use from it.

    Want to know what really pisses off the French? The Quebecois. The French can't stand the Quebecois speaking in what the French consider to be, their gutter dialect.

    You can't win.

    So learn French just for the joy of being able to read it or speak it now and then with a flourish, but unless you've lived in France and adopted a true ear for French from the French themselves, don't expect to ever use it.
     
  5. HellsKitchenmanNYC

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    Try Berlitz. Everyone know that had to learn french for their job chose that place.
     
  6. BirdinMo

    BirdinMo Member

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    I would most likly just read books in french. I would love to go to France but I doubt I ever will.
     
  7. D_Tyrone_Tittickler

    D_Tyrone_Tittickler New Member

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    BirdinMo, vous devriez apprendre à parler français, il est en effet une belle langue.
    The suggestions offered by everyone that have responded to your thread are good recommendations. The best way to learn a language is to get a grasp of the basics and then just dive in. Do you have work colleagues or friends who speak French? If you do then enlist them to help you to acquire a proficiency by only speaking French when they are with you.
    Jason is correct. The French do get a bit miffed by the Quebecois pronunciation. I am from south Louisiana and many of us are bilingual. The French that we speak is closely related to 17th century French that was widely spoken in Acadia, the present day New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Since we are isolated in terms of linguistics our French has not evolved with the French spoken in France and many of our terms are out of date, plus we have incorporated English words into the dialect. Some elementary and secondary schools offer a French curriculum and English is only used in grammar, English and American literature classes. Every other class is conducted in French and written homework assignments are in French. That is the best way to learn any language.
    Bonne chance, Birdinmo !
    DT
     
    #7 D_Tyrone_Tittickler, Feb 8, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  8. JustAsking

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    sti' tabernache!
     
    #8 JustAsking, Feb 8, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  9. D_Tyrone_Tittickler

    D_Tyrone_Tittickler New Member

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    BirdinMo, here is an example of the French commonly spoken on the bayou.
    YouTube - Spicy Cajun Accents (from AMERICAN TONGUES)
     
  10. bigbull29

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    Well, I started learning French when I was 11-12 (cassettes, etc). I later took it in high school and majored in it in college. I lived in France for a while. And today, after many years, I speak French fluently with a very good accent (talented for accents), but it was still quite difficult to master it.

    You can learn to speak French fluently. I recommend that you go to Québec, Switzerland or Belgium (even francophone Africa LOL).

    Here are my problems with learning French in France:

    1) In France, they have this notion that foreigners can never learn to speak French correctly. The learner picks up on this and becomes discouraged.

    2)French people are very impatient with learners of French. It's just downright absurd at time (particularly in Paris).

    3) Many French people want to learn and practice their English, particularly young people. They are likely to force you to speak English instead of making you speak French (less of a problem than number 1).

    This is not the case if you go to Québec, where the atmosphere is much more relaxed and there is no pressure to have to speak it "perfectly" (which no French French person does anyways LOL). Also, if you tell them not to use English, they often won't. But, you will hear a lot of English in Montréal.

    All that said, if you go to real rural areas in France, things are a bit different. There, you will be forced to learn it, even if some of the same conceptions are pushed down your throat.

    Finally, I also recommend going to French-speaking Switzerland (suisse romande) and Belgium. French is a bit more learnable in these places because the mentality about the language is slightly different (not the same exact conceptions drilled in their heads as is the case in France).

    PARIS IS THE WORST PLACE TO LEARN FRENCH.:biggrin1:

    The Québec accent is twangy and country, but I like it, too. :smile:
     
  11. boerkie

    boerkie New Member

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    i taught afrikaans at berlitz, and have to say their immersion program is the best way to learn.
     
  12. Smartalk

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    I once tried to learn French from a tape, umsuccessfully. I knew a French lady who was a High School teacher of French. I asked her advice and she said "Just accept it as it is and don't try to reason it out, with regard to masculin or feminine, etc etc. French is French, unlike spanish, Italian etc.

    I have to totally agree immersion is the best way, you will find most people will appreciate your efforts and help you if you try and speak to them in their own language, Rather than the arrogant attitude I don't speak your lanuage so you should speak mine.
     
  13. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    I lived in France for 18 months and I never found the French, even those living in Paris, anywhere near as difficult as they are so often described, and have been several times on this thread.
    I can't account for it ... but there she be -- a completely different experience.
    I agree that immersion is really the way to go.
    I spent a fair bit of time in Quebec and found that speaking French was often difficult. For all their French-centric nationalism (which the young generation, I might add, are outgrowing), most of them have a pretty good grasp of English and realize that learning English can only be good in this global, English-dominated world.
    It was far harder in Quebec than in France to keep the locals speaking their native tongue.
     
  14. D_Percival Puddleford Pukehorn

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    all you need to learn in french is baise-moi! ;)
     
  15. bigbull29

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    Yes, a lot of Quebecers are bilingual. English is less difficult for them than for European French speakers. Yeah, a lot of them do switch into English when speaking to native English speakers (I take back my comment I made the other night).

    There are less nuances in Quebec French (a little difficult to explain for beginners, but it's easier to translate into English).
     
  16. schwulboy1989

    schwulboy1989 Active Member

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    1. Learn standard French. While the dialects are great, like Quebecois or Creole, the grammar and vocabulary are vastly different, and you'll never understand the others. The standard language is more versatile, and any dialect you want to learn is just a branch off of what you already know.

    2. Beware of Rosetta Stone. Some people love it, others hate it. I'm closer to the latter. It's great for vocabulary, but not much else (and for the price you'll pay, you'll want "much else").

    3. Go to places like SecondLife or Yahoo Chat...they've got plenty of opportunities to meet people from other countries (or even people near you who are fluent in any given language) and you'll get plenty of practice :)

    4. Also, get a cheap workbook of some kind from your local bookstore. Sparknotes makes a book called "Workout" (I have "Workout in German), which not only teaches the language, but also quizzes you on what you have learned.

    5. Google. It's your best friend :)

    (I am dating a guy who picks up languages like inmates pick up garbage by the side of the interstate...he swears by everything that I just wrote...)

    Bon chance d'Apprendre le français!
    -SB
     
  17. kalipygian

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    If you are looking for reading material, Wikipedia has most articles in French. I don't know how many of them are written by native speakers, there are a good many articles in English that are not.

    Reading, speaking, and understanding what other people say are all different skills.
     
  18. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    You ain't just whistlin' Dixie, Kal.
    I can read French with few problems, can (or could ... I'm getting rusty) say most of the things that hit my fancy ... but oral comprehension was my Achilles heel.
     
  19. kalipygian

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    Reading is not a moving target:wink:.

    I've studied German and Spanish, which I think are a little easier for English speakers, more than I have French. Three German teachers I had were native, and I have native German speaking friends here, I try to use it as much as possible with them.

    Spanish I learned from Americans who learned it from other Americans, I went down to Costa Rica, they could understand me, but I had a very hard time understanding them. People thought it was slightly curious I could figure out something by reading it, but not very well if it was spoken.
     
  20. Branleur49008

    Branleur49008 New Member

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    I would look into the Pimsleur method. I learned French in school and via immersion while attending American University in Paris for 2 years. However, I've used the Pimselur method to learn Italian and found it to be logical, systematic approach.

    Many language systems teach you to write and speak the language together. The Pimsleur method is taught based on the theory that language is learned by listening and then repeating when we are toddlers and small children. Pimsleur teaches you to speak it, and then you can go on and learn how to write it, learn the grammatical rules, etc...

    Also, start listening to French radio online. I listen to CherieFM. It's a way to keep in touch with spoken French in an everyday, practical manner.

    French is not an easy language, but it is a beautiful one. Bonne chance, Mssr. BirdInMo.
     
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