Now that you know where some of this motivation for learning other languages comes from, I’d like to talk about what we are doing to learn French. For me it started back in high school where, after 3 years of classes I could flawlessly repeat the first lesson we ever learned which started out with “Bonjour, Jean. Comment vas tu?” and continued on with other basic questions, replies, and a request for how to find the library. All of that and nothing more. Fast forward about 20 years when Bill and I were taking language classes in Germany and met our wonderful French friend, Michèle who invited us to visit her country on our next European trip. Motivation to learn the language for sure which increased tremendously when she married her husband who spoke only limited English.
To get a headstart on our German classes in Cologne, we practiced with tape recordings from Pimsleur that we found very useful. The company has since changed its fluency guarantee to a more reasonable “converse comfortably” after 30 days. We were impressed enough with their method to order the French version and found it equally helpful and now I’ve started using their Spanish cds for a trip to Barcelona.
The other audio program that I like a lot and Bill cannot stand is Michel Thomas who tackles many languages of which we own three. As the professor Mr. Thomas sometimes sounds gruff and the two students that represent his class sometimes make mistakes but he always corrects them and repeats the right answer so that it’s the last thing you hear before moving on.
The one book that I go back to time and again is called “Alpha Teach Yourself French in 24 Hours” by William Griffin. If you’re a genius insomniac with a perfect memory you probably could achieve this 24-hour goal but for the rest of us the chapter divisions make it easy to learn even if it takes considerably longer than a day.
Originally priced at $499, we purchased the 5-part version of Rosetta Stone two months ago for $219 and I saw it yesterday for $209. A YouTube reviewer, who teaches high school Spanish, said that he had finished all five parts in seven months and felt that it was the equivalent of 2 semesters of college French. At a Georgia state university, for example, that in-state tuition alone for one year of a 3-hour course would cost around $1700 before fees and books. Bill is using it now daily and seems to be learning without realizing it.
Free is good so I’ve saved for last the following YouTube channels that I check every day. They are a great way to hear the language spoken by native speakers and learn something in the process. The designations as far as language level and topic are my own.
French Avec Nous https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHpoUn7vjq9J3Y_TNKrtaZA
Learn French with Pascal https://www.youtube.com/user/lsfrench
Learn French with Alexa https://www.youtube.com/user/learnfrenchwithalexa
Français avec Pierre https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVgW9ZQaGBk6fsiPgE2mYDg
Français Authentique https://www.youtube.com/user/francaisauthentique
Home Language https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFu6uJDqU_6vCIyN9KpMPLg
Funny (usually) and/or inspirational
Dan Rock (compares France w/USA) https://www.youtube.com/user/danrock404
Olivier Roland https://www.youtube.com/user/DesLivresPourChanger