Saturday, 14 February 2009


Where do you find motivation (it is in italics because it is a French word) to learn French? Do you go on holiday to France? Do you have a second home in France? Are you at school and you have to learn French? The best answer to learning anything is that you enjoy doing it. So how do you enjoy learning French? Enjoyment may not be the correct word if you go to the shop, ask for something and then get it, but it is a lot better than not getting it.

Jean-Paul Sartre famously wrote 'l'enfer c'est les autres'. He did go on to explain that he meant hell may be other people, but I prefer to think that we are social animals and we need to communicate with others. We need to show respect and be given respect as well as have good relations with our family and friends. So we have to communicate verbally and French allows us to communicate with more than 60 million people just across La Manche.

Are you a stick or a carrot person? Personally, I respond very well to praise and I am not too fond of criticism. However I do remember when I was at school in the 1970s and the teacher stopped shouting at one particular pupil a few months before the O level examination. It struck me that the teacher had attempted many avenues of encouragement as shouting was not his first or even his second method. Eventually it got to the stage when the teacher realised that he could not motivate the pupil. I am not a fan of shouting but the absence of shouting at one pupil made us realise that when the teacher shouted at us then he felt we could make more progress.

Find your motivation. It might be travel or cinema or music or any other aspect of French culture or talking to one or two of those 60 million people. Whatever it is I promise not to shout in this blog.

A bientôt

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