Saturday, July 25, 2015


by Mary Kennedy                                  

I'm getting ready for a trip to Paris next month and decided to brush up on my French. What to do! So many choices.

Did you know you can take online classes for free? One of my favorite sites is Duo Lingo. You can start at your own pace and spend just 20 minutes a day, practicing conversation. The site is user-friendly and tries to make language learning fun with games and prizes. And it's free!

Another site I enjoy, both for its amazing photographs and helpful every- day expressions is French Word a Day by Kristin Espinasse. Kristin is an American who lives in a charming, rustic house with a vineyard in the south of France, with her husband who she calls "Chef Grape." You can sign up for her French Word a Day blog and it will appear in your inbox twice a week.
Of course, there are some excellent books and tapes you can buy or rent from the library. I enjoyed an audio set by Pimsleur. If you like multi-tasking (and who doesn't?), you can play Pimsleur while you go about your everyday tasks. Be sure to take part in the conversation, though, don't just let the dialogue wash over you. Engage in the conversation!  You'll start with simple expressions that eventually morph into short conversations. A charming monsieur invites you out for dinner, and then he asks if he can come back to your place for a drink. Ooh-la-la! The choice is yours. Tell him oui or non, depending on your mood.
 Before you know it, you'll be navigating the Metro, asking directions, ordering a meal in a restaurant, and charming the natives with your fractured French. Just kidding! I'm sure you'll do fine.

Soon, you'll be saying confidently, "Un café crème, s'il vous plait."

Berlitz has a whole line of foreign language instruction and you might want to choose one focused on travel and conversation. Save the heavy-duty French tenses for when you come home. Remember the subjunctive tense from your high school French? ("If I had known you were coming, I would have baked a cake.") Seriously, you don't need to know all the verb conjugations to have fun.
Finally, here's a terrific photo of the Eiffel Tower that my son took. Love it. What could be more glamorous than Paris "par nuit."
So, bonne chance (good luck) with your language studies. A bientot! (ttyl)
Mary Kennedy
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