I lived in Florida for several years back in the 90s. It is where I learned to speak some Spanish. A good friend of mine during those years was a native Spanish speaker who had learned English as an older student in school. He told me that watching English TV had really helped him to become more fluent. Likewise, a friend who was an English speaker, who had learned to become fluent in Spanish, told me the same thing with a small twist. She said what helped her gain the most ground in her journey to fluent Spanish was watching Spanish Soap Operas! When I followed her advice, in addition to my book study, my Spanish skills improved…by leaps and bounds…now I am applying this to my French language learning!
Why is this?
Second languages are not learned in a vacuum. No matter how hard we study from a book, if we only engage in book study, we may become proficient French language readers, but not proficient speakers. French sounds very different from how it looks. Therefore, a student learning French must hear the language often in in order to become proficient. If you are not living in a francophone country or a bi-lingual home, one way you can increase the amount of the language that you hear in context in order to help you build proficiency is to use media~~ whether via, television, movies, or newscasts.
1. Watch your favorite English speaking movies in French. Most DVD’s will give you the option to watch the movie in a foreign language (usually Spanish or French). Pop your favorite in the player in French. If it is a movie where you know many of the lines by heart, all the better.
2. Watch French movies with English subtitles. Some of my favorites….Amélie, Joyeux Noel and Paris, Je T’Aime (Paris, I Love You).
A third option will help you with being more familiar with the written language…
3. Watch English movies in English with French subtitles.
If you are a French language learner like I am, I encourage you to add this to your study of the language.
À la prochaine (until next time)
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