Thursday, September 06, 2007

working on my French

As I mentioned in June, I sometimes feel like my French isn't strong enough to make Carl and Croissant fluent, idiomatic speakers. Now that I'm no longer teaching at the university, I have promised myself to make greater efforts to work on my French on my own. In fact, I later pledged to you all, my loyal and thought-provoking readers, that I would report back from time to time so that you can hold me accountable to my promise!

So here's what I've been doing since then:
  • Completing "facile" level crossword puzzles (yeah, "facile" for native speakers, that is!)
  • Writing occasional emails and letters in French (I could do more of that, though)
  • Watching one or two French movies a week (yay Netflix)--most recently Les enfants du paradis and L'enfant
  • Reading back issues of Le francais dans le monde (a magazine for French teachers that has articles on popular culture, la Francophonie, and teaching)
  • Making an effort to memorize songs and nursery rhymes to sing to Carl
  • Looking up words and expressions that I want to say to Carl when I can't figure out how to phrase them
  • Organizing a monthly conversation group for French teachers (last month a Fulbright exchange teacher from Senegal attended!)
  • Helping plan the French immersion portion of CCFLT's fall conference
  • Watching the French nightly news (amazingly, even though we don't get cable, our high-definition television picks up a few random channels, one of which broadcasts news shows from around the world! It turns out that I can watch France 2's 8:00 nightly news right here in Lafayette, CO)
Notice that I haven't been reading any novels in French. I want to get back into that--even though there are so many other books I've been craving to read and want to take care of before Croissant arrives! Reading is the best way to pick up vocabulary in context. I also want to explore more of what's available online, such as podcasts in French, to work on my listening comprehension and pick up new expressions and idioms.

Any further suggestions?


  1. Hi - I love your blog - I can't even remember exactly how I found it but here it is!
    My French husband and I are about to have our first child. We want him to speak both French and English fluently, so we're researching different ways to make that happen, and different people who have already done this. Your info has been a big help!
    If you like, I can send you some French magazines to read - a juicy gossip magazine or one on parenting or anything you like. I read a lot in French and this helps me more than anything else I think.

  2. Bonjour Jennifer! Thanks for visiting. Good luck with your pregnancy--how exciting that you and your hubby want to raise a bilingual child. I'm glad you find my blog helpful! Maybe in a year or two I can profile your kiddo's language development.

    Thanks too for offering to share magazines. I'll gladly take you up on your kind offer--but only if you let me reciprocate with American reading material for you (and/or your baby)! You can email me at babybilingual (at) gmail (dot) com.

  3. Hmmm you remind me to work on my Dutch. Before Louise was born, I did quite some practices by reading and writing e mails. But now *sigh* I can hardly find time and energy to even read in Indonesian! Our library has some collections of Dutch movies .. that helps a bit. Let's keep ourselves motivated!

  4. Okay, Santi! Can you practice speaking Dutch with your husband, like scheduling one evening a week where you speak Dutch together? Is Dutch a higher priority for you than French? Do you want the kids to know Dutch eventually too?

  5. Actually we don't have any plan to raise our kids in Dutch. It's more for me since I grew up with Dutch *although it's my least fluent language* and it's a pity if I loose it.

    Although my husband knows Dutch very well, he refuses to speak it *French pride syndrome, you know the 'dislike' each other in Europe*, so it's out of question to converse in Dutch with him :D. I think I just have to make effort to watch the Dutch news from the internet more often .. it's easier than finding time reading a book.

  6. Oh well! Yes, the internet really is a terrific resource for practicing our different languages.