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I recently moved to Lyon with my husband after he got a "once in a life time job". Up until the move I'd been working as a web content editor/writer for about ten years and had completed several forms of degrees/certificates etc. The idea of moving to France was a dream after several years of cold, grey London; a dream I knew would be difficult but it would be worth it. So far it has been, except for learning the language. I've never studied French before and though having a great understanding of my own language due to my career/studies, I just can't seem to learn other languages! I've never felt so stupid in my life.

I started classes a month ago and I can't seem to remember how to put together basic sentences. Some of this, I must admit, is due to the teacher skipping around, but other than that things just don't stay in my brain. I can understand what they're teaching, but I just can't put it back together myself! :confused2:

I know this is a difficult language to learn and that most people probably go through hard times, but if anyone out there can recommend ways of learning that might help me remember, I'd really, REALLY appreciate it. I'm tired of feeling stupid and of wanting to cry! Please help!
 

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Not a good day...

Ok, now I feel even more stupid because I just realised I made a mistake in the title and I can't edit it :eek: Not a good day...
 

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After just a month of lessons, it's no wonder you're not speaking the language yet. Learning any language takes time. And, there is always the question of how you learn languages best.

Some people prefer learning all the grammar and details behind how the language puts things together. Actually, that seems to be the way the French mind like things to be. But for others (like me), it works much better to go the "écoutez-répétez" (listen and repeat) route. That's how I learned French as a child (experimental program in the schools) and quite frankly, explaining grammar to me does me no good whatsoever.

I just found out today that there is an edition of Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat available in a bi-lingual version (through Amazon.fr). It's meant to help French kids learn English - but why not try something like that? There's lots of repetition, which is exactly how kids learn their own language.

Or get some sort of a home course in French to supplement your lessons. I like the Assimil series - in part because it's relatively cheap and the sentences they give you usually tell a silly or funny story - but there are loads of other programs you can do on your own on the side. Once you find a method that seems to work for you, then go with that.

Another thought is to go join the Lyon AVF. avflyonrhone - Espace de communication de l'AVF Lyon Rhône (scroll down the page to see the information you need in English) They have an international section with folks to help out newcomers who are just learning French. It's much more fun to learn a language if you're doing things you enjoy at the same time. I'm fairly sure they have some sort of French conversation group for newly arrived foreigners. (I'm in an AVF group here in the Paris area and have met the people from Lyon at the national conferences.)

The main thing is not to stress out too much. You'll go through peaks and valleys - even those of us who have lived here for ages have the occasional attack of fumble mouth.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Thanks for making me feel better, Bev. I don't expect that I should just wake up speaking French one morning (though I'd so love that right now), but I just want to be able to put what I've learnt into the basic sentences that we've already covered! The ppl in my class are managing to do it, so it's embarrassing when it comes to my turn and I have mush for a brain. I'm doing intensive lessons so I'm at it everyday but I'm off to Australia for a month next week so I think I'm going to use the time to just go over and over what I've learnt so far. As you say, repetition is the key and I'm not above getting out the kids books as the youtube kids songs for days, months and numbers have already helped me with those!!
 
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You don't say what you do when you are not having lessons. Have you got to know any French people, made any friends? Classes are necessary but you also need to be hearing/speaking French as much as possible, and putting what you are learning to practical use.

Don't be too hard on yourself, it takes time. And don't be afraid about making mistakes, the important thing is to make yourself understood even if it's not perfect.
 

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Don't put yourself down.
Learning in the classroom is sometimes not enough....you might learn, for example, how to use a certain tense and be able to complete the relevant exercises, but if that knowledge goes unused or you don't come across it in other contexts, chances are you will forget. If you're watching a French TV show, or you're listening to someone speak French, and happen to pick up an example of what you've done in class, in my opinion that really helps to put things into context and help things 'stick'. The teacher might teach you something, but for me it only becomes 'real' and tangible until I can hear it or use it in another context.

What I want to say is that you should try get as much exposure to the language outside of the classroom as you can. Whether it's reading, listening to music, watching TV, speaking with natives, go for it !
 

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I've lived here for more than 10 years. I learned French in an academic environment for 20 years. I make mistakes and there's no way ever I'll lose my English accent, however correct my French might be.

Don't beat yourself up; aim for getting by.

hils
 

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Hello

I love France, but I find French difficult. I came France in 2001 with " get by French". I thought that with a bit of intelligence and hard work I would be competent in 6 months. WRONG! I studied maths and egineering, so I see the world as aset of universal rules. Language is not like that.

Ive since found out that there are several different types of intelligence - music, language, maths, people etc. I am ok on maths, v low on language.

So, for me it was b*****y hard work. A few tips


Speak French when ever you can. With eng / fr speakers insist on fr rfor the first 10 mins, the english.

Read fr newspapers on thr internet. Watch fr tv. DO NOT WATCH eng tv, you will destroy the fr that you have learnt.

Try to use fr computer, windows, office ec


Listen to fr radio, europe1 is good in the morning, news every 15 mins, so you will understand after x hours!

I am on holiday with ipad, will reply in full next week when on proper pc.

DejW
 

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BeaNic,

I feel your frustration. I have been in France for 6 months and still have trouble putting a sentence together. I havent studied anything since high school almost 20 years ago, so I find it difficult using my brain to study. I started at a French language school this week as part of my visa and will get 300 hours of lessons. Hope it helps me :p

Watch as much French tv as you can. The news and soapies are great as they talk a bit slower.

I take it your husband speaks French. Try and surround yourself with as much French as possible. Kids books are great...especially for kids under 6. Very simply written with pictures to give you an idea whats it about.

Best of luck here

Chris
 

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The other thing about children's books is that so many of them are printed in script. They really do seem to introduce kids here to script writing first thing. I still find French handwriting to be absolutely unreadable, but it doesn't seem to help asking people to print anything that is handwritten.

Kids television in French is good practice, too, because they're careful to use simple sentences and situations and, of course, they would never throw in bad grammar or language! (I used to watch NYPD Blue in VO with French subtitles, and the main thing I learned was the French word for "puke" which isn't exactly something you can throw into a casual conversation...)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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The other thing about children's books is that so many of them are printed in script. They really do seem to introduce kids here to script writing first thing. I still find French handwriting to be absolutely unreadable, but it doesn't seem to help asking people to print anything that is handwritten.

Kids television in French is good practice, too, because they're careful to use simple sentences and situations and, of course, they would never throw in bad grammar or language! (I used to watch NYPD Blue in VO with French subtitles, and the main thing I learned was the French word for "puke" which isn't exactly something you can throw into a casual conversation...)
Cheers,
Bev
Sounds like my level of French is much the same as everyone else's. not as good as some but better than others, which is very average. The problems that I find with both French and Spanish, are the local dialects and regional differences in words. We can all listen to our Michele Thomas CDs. And spout Parisiene French, but when you finally settle somewhere, the problems begin, bit like move to parts of Wales, The
Highlands and Islands of Scotland and parts of the North East of UK.
For example, round here a pig is not "Cochon"' but "Goret"' a house is not "Maison"' but "Barrack", as in 'army barracks. They also go from Parisiene French into the dialect of D'oc,which, I believe used to be one of three different languages in France before the French language , as we know it, arrived in general use, something to do with the Normans I expect.

The same happened to me in 1985 when I bought a house in Andalucia, Southern Spain, long before it all became the resort of "chavs" and such like. I dutifully learned as much Spanish as poss. before the venture, arrived down there and it was almost as if I had landed on a different planet.
The same is still true. I fish regularly up in Catalonia, where the language bears little resemblance to Castillian, which, I believe, is the general form of the language.
I suppose that you have to learn common general words and phrases that are in use throughout a particular country and build on that.
I travel regularly through France and Spain without a phrase book and get by perfectly well with my Franglais and Spanglais. It is definitely getting easier wherever you travel in the World, as the planet is in the grip of the universal need grasp the rudiments of the The English language for use in modern communications.

Kassomay. ( that's Senegalese) for Good Morning. Fletch.
 

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That's funny, Bev!

The reason I asked about attendance at AF is because after 6 weeks here I enrolled for a month intensive course to brush up. I was exhausted to start with, plus having to deal with being somewhere at a certain hour every day was a challenge, plus the course itself and the homework - and the usual things that were going on in my everyday life.

Step back, take a deep breath and don't be so hard on yourself. I suspect that outside the classroom you may be able to make yourself understood when you're not dealing with the stress factor.

Do the best you can. You're bound to learn more than you realize at the moment - what I think of as the osmosis effect. You can always take another course later on.

I read the free ads. that come in the post box cover to cover because they are advertising common things and have lots of pictures.

BTW, I have made some specTACular mistakes - none of them printable and I have had a few good laughs over them.

Take heart!
 

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I started French classes through the OFII last year and was put into the "2nd level" classes as I had a basic understanding of greeting, introduce myself etc. After a month of being in the 2nd level class, I went to ask my French teacher if I could be moved to the lower level as I was finding the lessons extremely difficult and also just couldn't "get it". I felt exactly the same as you - frustrated and feeling stupid as well. She told me to stick it out for another 6 weeks in the 2nd level class and then we can see how it is going. Well, I ended up staying and after 6 weeks didn't even remember to have our little meeting again!

During the week, I would also go through my French course and the night before just refresh on what we did the previous week so I wasn't entirely lost.

French is a hard language (even some French people I know have said this) but you need to persevere. All the suggestions on here have been good so far - I also recommend watching movies you have seen in English a few times - watch them in French. I love Dirty Dancing and can't count how many times I have seen it. Ok, Patrick Swayze is not as cool in French "no-one puts Baby in a corner!" but at least you know the storyline, plot and maybe even like me most of the script!!!!
 

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That's funny, Bev!

The reason I asked about attendance at AF is because after 6 weeks here I enrolled for a month intensive course to brush up. I was exhausted to start with, plus having to deal with being somewhere at a certain hour every day was a challenge, plus the course itself and the homework - and the usual things that were going on in my everyday life.

Step back, take a deep breath and don't be so hard on yourself. I suspect that outside the classroom you may be able to make yourself understood when you're not dealing with the stress factor.

Do the best you can. You're bound to learn more than you realize at the moment - what I think of as the osmosis effect. You can always take another course later on.

I read the free ads. that come in the post box cover to cover because they are advertising common things and have lots of pictures.

BTW, I have made some specTACular mistakes - none of them printable and I have had a few good laughs over them.

Take heart!
I am a Scrabble freak., sounds like going to an AA meeting. For the last two weeks I have been playing against a teacher in the UK who has French degree and teaches languages. It has been extremely useful for using and spelling of French Word. The games are all in French, no dictionaries. The surprising fact is just how many French words you have picked up in isolated use.

Fletch(for seventeen points).
 

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I'm a scrabble freak too - plus a crossword freak. I do French straight crosswords as well as I can and then check the answers to see where I've made errors.

I play scrabble with the kids - we mixed a set of English tiles and French tiles and changed the rules. I can only put French words, they can only put English ones. They even let me get away with gros mots! It's a bit of fun and it keeps the hulking teenagers out of their parent's hair on a rainy Saturday afternoon!
 

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I'm a scrabble freak too - plus a crossword freak. I do French straight crosswords as well as I can and then check the answers to see where I've made errors.

I play scrabble with the kids - we mixed a set of English tiles and French tiles and changed the rules. I can only put French words, they can only put English ones. They even let me get away with gros mots! It's a bit of fun and it keeps the hulking teenagers out of their parent's hair on a rainy Saturday afternoon!

If you have Apple find the "word feud" app. It's Scrabble but slightly altered,
. You can play with people from all round the world at the same time, up to thirty different games ongoing. I usually keep about eight games going as it fills in some lengthy response time. Do be selective about some of the weirdos that want to play., you just delete them when the game starts. You can communicate with your opposition, I have met some nice people from round the world and had some good chats between and during games. I think that a lot of non English people use it as a way of improving their English language skills.

If you do get in the app., look for 'Fletch in France 'and I will give you a game should you so wish.
ish.

Bonne weekend. Fletch in France.
 

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Just a note - with all these marvelous ideas for really immersing yourself in French while you're learning it, don't forget to just get away from it now and then, too. Take a break and read in your own language in the evenings - be it magazines or a good, juicy novel (that Fifty Shades thing is supposed to be pure rubbish as far as literature goes, but sometimes you need a bit of "mind candy")

I've often found that my French gets better after I've spent a couple weeks back in the US, speaking English the whole time. It really does help to take a "break" after a few months of intensive study. (That, or after I get back from the US, I'm just not as worried about making mistakes. Who knows?)
Cheers,
Bev
 
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