Sunday, November 16, 2008

Question #2: Language Learning Strategies

In coming to France, one of my primary goals has been, voila, to learn French! (Very original, I know...) Having lived abroad in the past, I knew that learning a new language would be hard--it always is. However, I'm discovering that this time around it's a bit more difficult because I'm not living with a host family. While I love sharing this experience with my own family, from a language learning standpoint, it's more challenging because I'm not really immersed in the language. Our family forms a little micro-cosm where despite our good intentions to parle le fran├žais chez nous, we usually slip into English. While I'm grateful that my work gets me out of the house, I don't use much French as an English teacher. In other words, I suffer from a serious lack of linguistic input. While my reading ability in French is adequate, thanks to high school Latin and lots of cognates, my speaking and listening skills are still pretty abysmal.

And thus, I am searching for advice:
What interesting recommendations do you have for learning a second language?
Does anybody know of good French language learning websites, podcasts, etc.? Any suggestions for how to overcome the fear of striking up conversation at the playground? Or worse yet, the sheer terror at the thought of having someone talk to me? For all you linguists out there, the floor is open...


Arnold LvE said...

though I don't have any "new-age" technology stuff for learning a language, the best thing to do is really aim for immersion.
Read your scriptures in French, pray in French, do all that you can, even if it is basic, more basic than you are used to.
Next, try to listen to the radio, tv, talk to people on the bus, in the Metro, at the store. Read french books for fun, discover the joys of bookstores and libraries. etc.

Bonne chance!

Mrs. M said...

A few sites that I like:

People will be excited that you are working on your French. I hardly speak a lick of German, but when I was in Vienna, everyone I tried my German on was kind and helpful. Be bold! It's fun:)

Megan Ficek said...

Find a convopartner! Is there a program at your school that offers a program like the IEI has? That is, all volunteers and a commitment of one hour a week?

Anonymous said...

Immersion housing ;)


Jenn said...

Hey Frenchie Wheelers! Love to keep up with you guys via the blog - it makes my workday go by so much faster especially when I have nothing to do because the financial world is falling apart! When I did my study abroad in Paris, my roommate and I loved watching french TV. We'd watch Friends and the news - the 2 things we could agree on - and while I don't know that I completely understood everything, it helped. We'd have discussions with our french "Dad" afterwards - you and Jason could try that! And go see French movies (even if you don't understand them)!

Your loving (and bored) cousin,

ps - there's a learning french language podcast - just search itunes for "french".