Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Take your opportunities to learn French

I was staying in a small village in the south-west of France and I went to the local shop. It was, and still is the only shop in the village. As I was leaving I noticed a leaflet for a cinema. I asked 'il y a un cinéma près d’ici?’ The reply was ‘oui, un très beau cinéma’. Five miles is not far away when you are in the south-west of France, but the important point is to take all opportunities for speaking French. It is much better to learn adjectival agreements by chatting to a friendly shopkeeper than it is to look up words in dictionaries. If you know it is a beau cinéma then you know that cinéma is masculine, otherwise it would have been belle cinéma. You would be forgiven if you misheard un and une, but you can’t mishear beau and belle.

I went on one trip to France with a group of three friends. We were in the Mont Saint-Michel area of Normandy and one friend in particular took every opportunity of speaking French. If anyone wanted the toilet he would ask. Even if there was no reason to speak to anyone he would find a reason. He had been learning French for many years and this was his first visit. If we could keep this enthusiasm and take these opportunities then I am sure that we would learn a lot more.

A bientôt

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