Ever since I achieved my DELF B1 certificate more than a year ago, I’ve allowed my French to slip. I just haven’t used it. I’m trying to correct this sorry state of affairs. Here’s how.
First, as always for me, is listening practice. If you can’t understand what’s being said, there’s not much point. Living languages are all about conversing, gossipping and chatting. Only dead languages, such as Latin and Anglo-Saxon (which I also understand) centre on reading. I used to listen to a wide range of podcasts but I find, this time around, that I’ve limited myself to the few which I really find to be of benefit.
Here they are:
- Podcast Francais Facile – one of the best podcasts you could ever think to use
- Ecoute Podcast (Beware! If you want to sign up to the website for the additional exercises, it’s all in German)
- Le journal en francais facile from Radio France International
- Apprendre le francais avec l’actu also from RFI accompanied by a whole range of exercises
- La marche du monde – a more advanced look at aspects of current news items, terminolgy, etc
On the reading and writing front, I chat a lot on-line with French friends and I’m going through a number of the french history books I’ve picked up along the way. More importantly, I’ve found a stash of trashy young-adult action-adventure fiction and I love them!
Over a forty-plus year period, Henri Vernes (why are all the good authors Belgian?) wrote more than a hundred novels featuring his clean-shaven, crew-cut hero, Bob Morane. Bob regularly gets himself entangled with aliens, dinosaurs, African witchdoctors, international spy rings and cults of inscrutable orientals. A Bob Morane novel is kind of like a Hardy Boys story with guns and more guns.
All this is great for my general comprehension of the language but none of it improves my speaking or conversation ability. To this end, I’m thinking of getting myself a webcam and microphone headset and joining all the cool kids on Skype or similar. The problem then becomes finding people who want to talk to me.