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Learning French

Audio Messages to Use Your French Language Skills

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Audio Messages to Use Your French Language Skills

I am now halfway through my first week of the Christmas holidays during my French language stay in France. Although my French lessons at the ILA Immersion School aren’t running I have been doing my best to actively increase my language skills. I think it would be really easy to take my foot off the gas because it’s easy to assume if I am in France I will learn French. This I believe is not quite true. Perhaps in days gone by it would have been, if the only papers I could read were in French and the only people I could speak to were natives then sure I might progress. These are not those days though. I carry all the time a little device which gives me unlimited access to English news, English speaking friends and English entertainment. My phone is a great asset but I think if I let it could become a fierce enemy to my French development.

One of my best friends during my time here learning French in Montpellier was Lena who has gone home to Switzerland for the holidays but is returning in January. She has shared similar concerns as she had just moved from B2 level for her intensive French course to C1 and it is challenging so she wants to stay on top of it. So we have decided to take control of the situation and maintain regular contact. We started off with texting which is very useful as I have written in a previous article but we have been going one step further to keep our vocal cylinders firing. It’s very easy to send audio files over WhatsApp or other messaging services so we have been recording little 1-2 minute clips and sending them over to each other. When you consider how long a 3 minute oral production feels on your French course you realise that this is fairly substantial.

French Oral Productions from Montpellier to Switzerland

It is just you talking, which lays bare the depth of your language skills. It is quite easy I feel to only have small interactions like what you might do with people you meet day to day in cafes etc. and start to feel a false confidence because they are so short and you do them so frequently you can do them fast and confidently. We don’t want that. We want to stir the deeper waters of our cauldron of French skills.

Also it is not a conversation in real time it is just you so there is no one there to give you a little nudge in the right direction like a parent keeping their kids away from the road. You have to focus and correct yourself or acknowledge when you are not sure. This means it doesn’t really matter what you talk about because most of the time you will get to the 4th sentence or so and then discover a word you don’t know the translation of or the correct construction of a passive form etc. and the remainder of the recording will be dedicated to discussing that aspect.

Lena is in the grade above me on our intensive French course for adults so she is a little bit more ahead so we have developed a system where each day she sets me a challenge to utilise a particular grammatical concept. So then whatever I want to say, which doesn’t need to be particularly complex; gets processed with this concept in mind and then I can try and arrange a way of saying something that involves both.

Anyway this is just one way of many to keep up your French language learning whilst you are on a brief séjour from the ILA French Immersion School. It works very well for us though and it is great fun but also a good challenge so I recommend finding your own system and if any of this helps I’m glad.