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  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    French

    I am planning another, hopefully longer, trip to France in 2007. I have been in a university French course since last September, and will be taking the second year starting next September, so I will be considerably more prepared to converse this time than I was last time.

    However, I will not be in classes over the summer ,and I would like to maintain my French.

    So my question is this .... if you have purchased "Learn to Speak French" CDs recently for a cycletouring trip to France, is there one you would recommend?

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    Don't know about French (wish I spoke it), but I have studied Italian via the Pimsleur method, and it has been helpful. It's a bit pricey, but there are rental options. Here's a link to get you started. Click around to find what you want:

    http://www.recordedbooks.com/index.c...&prod_id=P1185

    Also you might want to check out this penpal site:
    http://www.mylanguageexchange.com/

    Good luck!
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    if you're just maintaining, what i like to do is just read foreign online newspapers in whichever language i need to practice. it's free and keeps you up to date on the areas you will be visiting.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr bill
    if you're just maintaining, what i like to do is just read foreign online newspapers in whichever language i need to practice. it's free and keeps you up to date on the areas you will be visiting.

    That's a good idea. Maybe I'll see if the library has some novels in French too. I'd really like to get some speaking practice too, but I live in a province where French isn't a big thing.

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    If you use itunes, you'll find a couple of podcasts dedicated to teaching French... as well as paying audio books.

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    accidental tourist
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    If you are a film buff, French cinema produced some of the best films ever. Your library system may be able to get some of them for you. You get the body language and there are usually subtitles to help with translations. Sometimes you get a peek at a younger France which can be interesting.
    Pimsleur CDs are good, and you can resell almost any language CDs on ebay when you are done.

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    I'm trying to learn Spanish and I think having a bunch of different CDs helps so you hear a variety of accents, voices and different ways to say the same thing. My experience learning Spanish may have some similarities to learning French

    There seems to be two diferent approaches: one is give you phrases to memorize (best way to start and get you up and running fast) and the other is to learn the grammer, verbs, subjects (takes a lot, lot longer but ultimately is the best way to go).

    I've tried Berlitz which is the first "phrases" method, it's ok, cheap and comes with a phrase book, but you probably will hardly ever understand the reply you get with Berlitz knowledge (unless the reply is exactly the same as on the CD). I'm also using the Rosetta Stone which is an interactive computer program. It is very expensive (unless you have a friend you can borrow it from) but it's the best I've used.

    I think you have to immerse yourself in the culture: Play French music, listen to the CD's in the car or while cooking or doing chores, watch French movies, etc. Even if it's just in the background, I think it helps get your sub-conscious tuned in to the language.
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    I vote for the public libary as well--- mine has a set of *learn Spanish in 30 days* tapes. A buddy rented them and said they weren't the greatest, but they were.....free! Books-movies-music and check if you have a local Fench club or something. Maybe the local highschool needs help?

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    I took a non-credit course at the local "Alliance Française," and it was fairly good.

    Some universities, especially in English-speaking Canada, have French-speaking clubs. How about finding out whether a college or university near you has such a club, and whether it is open to the public.

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    and what's the french for "eh"

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    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    I highly recommend the Rosetta Stone learning CD's. Excellent. And I am a professional language teacher.

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    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    I hear Rosetta Stone is very good but also very expensive.

    I have Italian from Micheal Thomas. I'm sure he makes a French CD. He is pretty good and the CDs are not very expensive. One thing I do not like about the CDs is he has students that he teaches along with you and his accent makes the English words a bit hard to understand.

    A couple of tips from my Italian teacher:

    Get foreign magazines from your local library.
    Listen to foreign music.
    Name things in your foreign language when you see them.
    Name numbers in the foreign language when you see them.


    How far are you from Montreal? I had problems with people not speaking English at all and me speaking very little French. I was in a bar with a co-worker. A man started talking to my co-worker using French. My co-worker not knowing a word of French, just nodded. I said to the man "Il ne parle pas francais". Next thing you no he started babbling at me! I had to tell him I don't speak French either.

    Good luck in using your French in Paris. Chance are they will refuse to speak to you. I had a French Canadian friend that went tot Paris on a regular basis and they would refuse to talk to him in French.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker
    How far are you from Montreal? I had problems with people not speaking English at all and me speaking very little French. I was in a bar with a co-worker. A man started talking to my co-worker using French. My co-worker not knowing a word of French, just nodded. I said to the man "Il ne parle pas francais". Next thing you no he started babbling at me! I had to tell him I don't speak French either.

    Good luck in using your French in Paris. Chance are they will refuse to speak to you. I had a French Canadian friend that went tot Paris on a regular basis and they would refuse to talk to him in French.

    I'm approx. 3500 kms away from Montreal. Actually, I'm going to Montreal (briefly) in August, but it definitely isn't close by.

    I've been to France (and Paris) and had very little problem communicating with the people there with my limited French. All but one person were very helpful and friendly. I would get as far as I could with my French, then they would start guessing what I meant, and eventually we'd reach an understanding. A couple times I resorted to pointing at words in a dictionary, and a few times people who spoke both French and English would suddenly appear on the scene and translate. It was a very positive experience.

    I should add that I was once fluent in French (France French, not French-Canadian French - they are different), about 20 years ago, but until I went to France in 2003, I hadn't used it, so I had lost most of it. The interesting thing was that during my approx. 10 days there, French phrases and words kept coming back to me, so by the end of the 10 days, I was communicating a lot better than I was in the beginning!!

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acantor
    Some universities, especially in English-speaking Canada, have French-speaking clubs. How about finding out whether a college or university near you has such a club, and whether it is open to the public.

    The University I am attending (where I am currently taking my French courses) has clubs like that, but they don't run over the summer ... and it is summer maintenance I'm after.

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    Quote Originally Posted by acantor
    I took a non-credit course at the local "Alliance Française," and it was fairly good.

    Some universities, especially in English-speaking Canada, have French-speaking clubs. How about finding out whether a college or university near you has such a club, and whether it is open to the public.
    +1. Classes at theAlliance Française are exclusively tought by native speakers so if practice is what you need most, this is the place to go. They tend to be in the largest cities however.

    I taught French for several years, my favorite method/book was the BBC series beginning with "A vous la France" etc(forgot the titles), because of the real life situations, different accents, background noises etc. You may find these in libraries. Though I never used these alone but instead as a support material for classes, I even edited some of the tapes and made my own.

    I would not recommend spending a lot of money in expensive methods and books/CDs, especially if you are already following a curriculum ; but if you find a free method at your library, use it. If you can get French radio, TV and/or listen to music, all the better.

    What you need is practice with native speakers or non-natives with excellent level of fluency. Sometime you will find students or temporary residents who may be interested in trading French against English conversation or simply need a relief from speaking English all the time.

    Try any potential point of contact from the university where you take the course, to the Alliance, or the web like craigslist or equivalent, here in Boston the French community have their own site with a forum, they organize social events where non-native speakers are welcome to join and practice their French, you may find this in your area.

    Bonne chance!
    Last edited by Cycliste; 03-12-06 at 04:14 PM.

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    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    The interesting thing was that during my approx. 10 days there, French phrases and words kept coming back to me, so by the end of the 10 days, I was communicating a lot better than I was in the
    beginning!!

    I am finding the same thing trying to learn Italian. I seem to not be able to remember a number of things then all of a sudden words will just pop into my head. Very strange. I hope it means I am learning.

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    What about taking a ride to Quebec every week-end?

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    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Also I would think you could pick up a number of radio stations from Montreal. I get them here is Pittsburgh on a good night and no problem when I am up in Erie.

    I'm sure on line stations can be had also.

    If anyone knows of any online Italian stations, please let me know.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cycliste
    What about taking a ride to Quebec every week-end?
    Yeah ... no problem ... I'll use those trips as training rides.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker
    Also I would think you could pick up a number of radio stations from Montreal. I get them here is Pittsburgh on a good night and no problem when I am up in Erie.

    I'm sure on line stations can be had also.

    If anyone knows of any online Italian stations, please let me know.

    Up here in Canada, there is always a French radio station and television channel available. CBC!! I'm watching the movie "Splash" in French right now. I watched the Olympics in French too.

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    Touring is a must
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    If you could get a summer job in a french environment, that would make a big difference. I am french and went to an English university, UNB. I am from a small bilingual town and do not remember learning english. At my first year at university I would read my engineering assignments in English but reason out the problems in french. By my second year, I would reason things out in english. I had friends from PEI and Quebec and we would change from french to english and english to french in the same sentence without noticing. That would drive our english friends up the wall but most of them would agree that after a few beers, they would all understand french. Getting a summer job in Quebec or on the Acadian Peninsula would solve your problem.

    André

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    This is a one link for radio stations all over the world


    and what's the french for "eh"
    Actually, there is a "word", of sorts. The French often will add "hein" (pronounced like a very nasal short "a" english vowel sound) at the end of sentences. Its usage is not exactly like the Canadian "eh", but it's similar.
    Good luck in using your French in Paris. Chance are they will refuse to speak to you. I had a French Canadian friend that went tot Paris on a regular basis and they would refuse to talk to him in French.
    I have heard that many times, but I have never found it to be true, and I have spent a lot of time in Paris. However, my french is quite good, and I'm told my accent is slight and unidentifiable.

    I improved my French dramatically in an unusual way many years ago. I met a German cyclist in a youth hostel in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. We were both alone and on bikes and headed toward France, so we rode together. He spoke French much better than English (he had been an exchange student in France), and I spoke French much better than German. We hit it off and went on several subsequent trips together. The first two trips we did together were almost entirely in France, so I was speaking nothing but French for several weeks on each trip. I became very fluent and comfortable speaking French during those wonderful trips together. We're still in touch (we spoke just last week) and we still speak only in French. We were once in Ireland and Wales together and everybody assumed we were both French.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onthemove
    If you could get a summer job in a french environment, that would make a big difference. I am french and went to an English university, UNB. I am from a small bilingual town and do not remember learning english. At my first year at university I would read my engineering assignments in English but reason out the problems in french. By my second year, I would reason things out in english. I had friends from PEI and Quebec and we would change from french to english and english to french in the same sentence without noticing. That would drive our english friends up the wall but most of them would agree that after a few beers, they would all understand french. Getting a summer job in Quebec or on the Acadian Peninsula would solve your problem.

    André
    Bonsoir André

    I second your opinion... about the beer, I learnt English in Ireland, so I know what you mean
    Serious, I agree with the reasoning/speaking learning curve, but with a complete immersion in 100% [French in Machka's case], with good bases, this process can take less than a couple of months, not to fluency, but to a point where you no longer need to speak in your native language.
    And speak Franglais on the way home

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    André, t'étais aux iles de la madeleine il y 2 ans en septembre, par hasard?

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    il y a 2 ans. désolé.

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