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French lessons


Squidge

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Hi,

   I felt that I would be very selfish if I kept this gem of information to myself.........If you are trying to learn the French language and making slow progress, as I was, after buying all the books,CDs and tapes I could find. I tried a French tutor...still no obvious progress.

I then found a retired English teacher who teaches French. She understands the specific difficulties that English students have with the French language and the result is, that I have made more progress after 6 lessons than I have made over the past 18 months........ She has given me permission to post her telephone number but she only teaches in the Cognac and Saintes areas.

                                             I hope this is of help

                                                          Will

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After several years of evening classes and tapes etc with some good and some awfull tutors I would recommend two things:

A native French (or whatever language) and a professional teacher.

It is one thing to know ones subject but another to have the skills to teach it.

When I travelled I learnt spanish in Ecuador, it was an intensive course, from the very first moment (after paying the fee!) English was never spoken, it was very distressing at first and we used infants teaching material but the progress made over two weeks was astonishing.

The worst teacher that I ever had (evening class) was a native French lady who had been an au pair and was then married and living in England, but she did not know how to teach and had a terrible attitude towards her students.

The second worst was a lovely lady, native Swiss  but English and French speaking and also a qualified language teacher, she just did not have enough vocabulary and also had not lived in france for many years, the class was more like a discussion gruop where we all debated and tried to find the meanings of the word in question.

Cast  your mind back to school, if you had more than one French teacher was the native speaker better than the English one? I help out at the local Lycee with the english classes and I really see some differences in the teachers, (they are all French) all have in the past studied and/or worked in England but some not for many years and crucially never return or have conversations with English speakers; they are the ones teaching the kids very poor or in some cases incorrect English with terrible pronunciation.

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Will, as we already have a forum member called Will, and it could all get a little confusing, would you mind very much if I asked you to change your username  (using the Edit your details: Will  link at the top of your screen) to something else please.

Many thanks

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  • 1 month later...
Not sure whether I would agree with the teacher needing to be native French speaking.  Although I can see the point being that is being made about ensuring the teacher has an up to date knowledge / experience of the language being taught.  My experience has been that a native French speaker often knows the correct usage by gut feeling / instinct but may not necessarily have a good grasp of the rules of grammer.  Personally I find it hard just being told that you say something like 'so' but with no explanation as to why.

Kathie 

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The only area that my native French tutor struggles with, with me is grammar.

In fact she is an excellent grammar teacher as she teaches it to her pupils in both languages, the problem is that my complete lack of English grammar education (at a progressive 70's comprehensive school like in the grimleys) causes me terrible problems learning other languages.

She will always explain grammatically why something is constructed in a certain way but sometimes I have to ask her to stop and teach me some basic English grammar, which she can but is more used to teaching it to French students who already understand grammar in their own language whereas I have to ask what an adverb is.

2 years ago I did a 2 week intensive course in Spanish, English was never spoken from the very beginning, I learnt as a young child does without the hindrance of grammar rules, I stayed with a Spanish host family and socialised and communicated with the other international in spanish only.

I learnt a fantastic amount in a very short time but sadly lost most of it after moving on in my travels from South America, I would always try to chat to French travellers (as I knew that I would finally be living here) but the problem was that I had a melange of French and Spanish and to this day I still automatically say "Si" instead of "Oui".

In fact my life here has been one of total immersion, the only time that I communicate in English is on this forum (and that is gettting harder) and I certainly am losing my vocabulary.

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In terms of Learning Grammar, no-one understands French Grammar like a non-native speaker, I learnt French with a non-native and had seperate conversation classes which seemed to work well. Once you have picked up the grammar you should be able to apply it to another language and easily become multi-lingual.

 

I now speak French, German, Spanish and Italian and run an on-line language Learning company.

 

Steve

Languagelearners.co.uk

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi all,

 

I thought I'd share my experience with you. I am learning really fast with a French-native tutor by telephone from learningfrench.co.uk. She has been living in the UK for 15 years (or so) so she understands the difficulties between both languages. In fact it is very convenient to have the lessons by telephone (or Skype) too.

 

Good luck.

 

George
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  • 2 months later...

Hi Debs,

             I received your private email  via the forum but!.....I was unable to reply as the link stated that the posting had been removed by the Administrators.

              If you write again to willsmain@fsmail.net I will be able to send the details you requested.

                                                       Regards

                                                                 Squidge

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I really don't agree with "nobody understands French grammar like a non native speaker".  The French really work and study at their grammar in a way the English don't.  Who knows what nominalization transformations are, or adverbal clauses?  And yet they are part of English grammar.  You use them, and yet you couldn't name them or explain them.  However French people are taught when the past participle agrees with the preceeding object and why.  There is a difference between understanding grammar and understanding the particular differences with any given language.  I can teach French people English because I have had the opposite problem.  When it comes to teaching other foreigners it is in no way so easy because I do not know their languages or what is transparent or evident for them.

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I agree with you Tourangelle and so would my French teacher after an epic session with me yesterday on the accordance of the past participle in the passe compose using the auxiliary avoir preceded by the complement object direct- phew!

I have been struggling with this for over a year mainly due to my lack of understanding of grammatical terms and inability to comprehend that in one example a person can be the subject yet in another the object!

As I mentioned before my teacher is native French and I would not swap her for 10 non native teachers even if they paid me!

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