Monday, 18 April 2016

I must try harder

Hello dear readers,

I have to tell you about the house next door, it used to be occupied by a lovely lady who sadly died, it was inherited by her only Daughter, Martine Dijon who is of the Dijon mustard dynasty, now Martine and her husband Dominique (yes that is how he spells it) live in Niort in the deux Sevre and use the house next door for a holiday home... what has all this got to do with me trying harder I hear you ask, well we pretty much hibernate during the winter and although we live in a fairly big village we could go months without seeing anyone, needless to say I don't get much chance to practice my French which is awful at best, my biggest problem is the understanding of the language, the long and short of it is - I must try harder - 
Saturday our part time neighbours came for a visit and I must say we have stayed out of the way to avoid the embarrassing language problem but today I said to John " we must go and speak to them as they are in the garden" out we went and although I struggled we did manage a conversation and enjoyed a glass of red wine with them but I want to be much better than I am hence I must try harder, it seems that it is the story of my life as all my school reports said the same.
I want to be able to converse with my neighbours and everyone else, it is important to our well being in a way, so any spare time I have now I am going to devote it to my French.

I will take any advice I can on this one.



  1. Watch TV in French with the French subtitles for the hearing impaired. It really helps. My British neighbors got Canal Plus so they could watch all the U.K. shows, and their French never improved. I have a francophone husband, so the TV stays in French. The subtitles helped me keep up.
    Also, take a class. Maybe not a French class, but a class in your village--gym, yoga, dance, chorale. You'll (1) get out of the house, (2) meet people, and (3) hear and speak French.
    Look for an MJC or one of the other groups that do low-cost French classes staffed by volunteers.
    I don't do all I could--my work is in English and I speak English to my husband and kid. Husband speaks to me in French; kid speaks to me in English and to dad in French. It's complicated. Anyway, if I spoke all the time, my French would improve, but my kid's English would suffer.

  2. I've recently become addicted to the French version of Duolingo, a free app that challenges me whenever I have a few free minutes to translate back and forth between French and English. They even require you to speak the phrases! Very helpful for vocabulary and to refresh your grammar. Relatively painless.

  3. Thanks guys - we have just lost our French TV due to changes but we will get a box to get it back, sometimes it is hard to get out there when you are stuck for words but worth a try - I have been looking at Duolingo this evening and it looks good, I think the secret is to do a little each day..

  4. Roz, I agree that Duolingo is terrific. Another t hing you might consider is volunteering at the library or someplace where they're grateful to have your help. You could also find a partner who wants to practice their English. You help her with her English and she helps you with your French.
    I know how hard it can be because just trying to speak only French for an hour or so makes my brain hurt.
    Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France.

  5. I always speak Spanish well after a few drinks as then I don't care if I mess up and use a lot of signing! Lol.

  6. My French is always for better after a few glasses of wine ;)

  7. Paulita I think I need to improve a little before I could do that but I am working on it
    Jan & Jenny, I so agree about the wine, in fact our French neighbour once told John that he is fluent in French after the 3rd glass, love it
    Thanks for all your comments guys it makes blogging worthwhile

  8. The important is to have a good vocabulary so you don’t have to search for words. My grand-kids are learning French with a French au-pair and they read many books for small kids showing all the objects and the words for simple phrases – you could find some books like this, but in a large bookstore or in England. Also there are several sites online like “Bonjour de France: apprendre le français en ligne” and it’s free - . There is also “français -facile” another web site, free, on learning French - or the loecsen site - apprendre à parler rapidement en français - . There are many sites on the Net like these. Another way, with your computer, is to watch you tube videos – here are a couple: the 1000 most used words in French - another is Cours francais facile by a Frenchman- There is a wealth of information on French language on the net. The suggestion to exchange English language for French is a good one. Go to the high school in your area and I am sure there will be some kids who would love to come once or twice a week to talk with you for one hour if you would help him/her with their English pronunciation.
    When I went to England the first time I barely spoke English (I was 13 ½ then.) I had a little book where I wrote at least 10 words a day in English with the translation in French and would try to learn them by heart – then 10 more the next day and so on, and by the time I came back – 2 weeks later, I was doing pretty well. Good luck!


I am always happy to read your comments and I will try to answer you all x