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I really want to learn French

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    When I started woking in marketing last year (I have since quit and gone back to school) I was exposed to wonderful French fashion, wit and language at every turn via my coworkers. I think it has caused me to turn into a bit of a francophile. I've started daydreaming about Paris and really want to learn French for the first time since being scared off it at school.

    Any hints and tips? Are those '6 weeks of French classes' before vacation offers worth it? Any audio books that would help? Should I do what my mother said and scare myself silly in the process by just moving out there for a year as an au pair?
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    French is a good language I really love it and can't wait to hopefully go to France to speak it, I learn it at School but you should just start with the basics and work your way up. BBC have a really good languages section http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/ . I think You should learn some french before you go out there as an au pair because once you know a little bit you can learn from them then and advance on that just leaping in there not knowing anything would be really confusing. Start off with the present tense verbs they are probably the easiest then you could move onto the past tense/future tense/conditionnel stuff. The best thing to do would be to maybe buy a school book for french they basically have all sorts of verbs you will need and then vocab. Maybe listen to french radio/tv as well.
    Good Luck
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    I should really say good for you. Truth be told, and I'm a frank kinda guy, but French is on the decline. It's not quite a dying language (yet), but it's in its last throes of being an international language.

    It's also the hardest Romance language and is based on rigid rules. You always get a liberating feeling after studying French grammar that you actually speak English, where the grammar is arbritrary and allows for a lot greater freedom.

    You're best off going to France because... well, not many places speak French, so you don't exactly have a plethora of choice. Also, French people get very annoyed if you can't speak French perfectly, so try not to mess up. And don't speak English to them. They're already pissed that English is the international tongue instead of their decaying language, and they have it shoved down their throats in films, radio songs, adverts etc.
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    I advise you check out this guy:

    http://fluentinthreemonths.com/

    If you really wanna learn French, do the au pair thing. Maybe do an immersion course beforehand to prepare yourself. Also I would recommend going somewhere other than Paris. Most French people are very happy to hear foreigners speaking their language, while Parisians will sneer at your attempts and speak English back.
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    (Original post by navarre)
    I should really say good for you. Truth be told, and I'm a frank kinda guy, but French is on the decline. It's not quite a dying language (yet), but it's in its last throes of being an international language.
    This is very true. While learning French may be enjoyable, unless you are planning on living in a francophone country, it is a virtually useless language. Spanish (as mentioned by someone above) would actually be much more practical.
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    Courses at a local college can be good. They are generally an evening a week and can last a term, 6 months or a year and are suited for different levels. Moving out there as an au pair would not necessarily help you learn French. You will pick up bits, but the family will probably speak English with you, and friends you make out there will also probably speak English with you. If you really want to learn French, you need to be able to write it as well as just understanding it and speaking it. Possibly you could live out there as an au pair and then find someone out there who would be willing to tutor you at weekends/evenings while you're there. If you do go down the au pair route, make sure you find a good family who you get on well with, preferably one that have had previous au pairs with no problems. And it can be tough work, and the children can be quite 'damaged' from having a different au pair each year and not seeing their parents that often.
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    (Original post by navarre)
    I should really say good for you. Truth be told, and I'm a frank kinda guy, but French is on the decline. It's not quite a dying language (yet), but it's in its last throes of being an international language.

    It's also the hardest Romance language and is based on rigid rules. You always get a liberating feeling after studying French grammar that you actually speak English, where the grammar is arbritrary and allows for a lot greater freedom.

    You're best off going to France because... well, not many places speak French, so you don't exactly have a plethora of choice. Also, French people get very annoyed if you can't speak French perfectly, so try not to mess up.
    Haha, I think I'm lucky as I'm fluent in both German and English already! I'm fine with conversational Spanish and I usually can understand most written French when I look at it for a bit (at least enough to be able to easily shop online in French shops )

    As far as dying languages go, I'd better learn now before it's dead then!
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    I think this is quite a good website for free http://www.busuu.com I've used it to improve my French and I really like it

    x
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    "French is a dying language"? Are you guys high?
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    (Original post by IlexBlue)
    "French is a dying language"? Are you guys high?
    Mandarin and Hindi are the languages of the future. Europe is no longer the super-power it once was. The French economy is doing horridly. 85% of the GDP is debt! So no, we aren't high.
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    i totally understand you however I actually do it at school, im not the best just a C/B grade student but I desperately want to do it as an A-level it's gonna be hard but I try hard, good luck with it and dont give up no matter how hard it is!!!!
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    (Original post by IlexBlue)
    "French is a dying language"? Are you guys high?
    Declining language, not dying. It'll probably always be spoken in France.

    Yet anyone learning french and expecting it to be of any significant use in the future is high. If you want to learn a useful language, French ain't one.
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    the best way to improve and learn languages is comunication with native speakers. U can try this website (i think is't free...) http://www.mylanguageexchange.com/
    if u want to try go abroad as an au pair here is a free aupair jobmatch website http://www.aupair-work.net
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    (Original post by navarre)
    Declining language, not dying. It'll probably always be spoken in France.

    Yet anyone learning french and expecting it to be of any significant use in the future is high. If you want to learn a useful language, French ain't one.
    I'm sorry but all this talk of a language being 'useful' is utter nonsense. The only time a language would be deemed 'useless' is if it had a withering and fractionally small native speaker base that also spoke your first language. However seeing as I want to learn Scottish Gaelic at some point in the future this is not an opinion I share. I see this attitude to learning a language all the time and frankly I find it bizarre. Do you just look at the total speaker volumes from a wikipedia table and then decide to learn a language based on that? What about how it sounds? Its customs, its culture, its literature? Just because a language is not the language of a superpower nation or used in international business it does NOT, in any way, mean it is not worth learning. Do not forget that when you learn a language you can potentially learn everything about its culture, its history and its people if you so wish. To simply disregard all this because another language is more important in the business or political world (which most people learning a language might not actually give two hoots about) then you are doing a massive discredit not only to yourself, but to others if you spout this as a genuinely legitimate reason not to learn a language.

    There are many reasons people learn languages and many situations or careers in which they can be used, and this should not be based on speaker numbers alone. Many people continue to learn latin, but it is not used as a converational language anymore, is it? So why bother learning it? I'll leave you to answer that question for yourself.
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    (Original post by 21stcenturyphantom)
    I'm sorry but all this talk of a language being 'useful' is utter nonsense. The only time a language would be deemed 'useless' is if it had a withering and fractionally small native speaker base that also spoke your first language. I see this attitude to learning a language all the time and frankly I find it bizarre. Do you just look at the total speaker volumes from a wikipedia table and then decide to learn a language based on that? Just because a language is not the language of a superpower nation or used in international business it does NOT, in any way, mean it is not worth learning. Do not forget that when you learn a language you can potentially learn everything about its culture, its history and its people if you so wish. To simply disregard all this because another language is more important in the business or political world (which most people learning a language might not actually give two hoots about) then you are doing a massive discredit not only to yourself, but to others if you spout this as a genuinely legitimate reason not to learn a language.

    There are many reasons people learn languages and many situations or careers in which they can be used, and this should not be based on speaker numbers alone. Many people continue to learn latin, but it is not used as a converational language anymore, is it? So why bother learning it? I'll leave you to answer that question for yourself.
    I completely agree with you. I am very business orientated, but at the end of the day this is something that I want to learn because I have developed a passion for it. If it comes in handy in my working life (and French is likely to in most companies that work in the EMEA area) that's great, if not...well, I want this because I'd like to be able to converse with people in France.

    As far as Latin goes, I think it's still alive in well in law and medicine and a stepping stone to most modern languages. If you understand how latin works you are likely yo have a much easier time learning other languages.
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    (Original post by Lulamae)
    As far as Latin goes, I think it's still alive in well in law and medicine and a stepping stone to most modern languages. If you understand how latin works you are likely yo have a much easier time learning other languages.


    Yes, that is what I was hinting at. I haven't studied Latin myself, but the tiny amount of knowledge I have means I can see that the roots of our language lie in Latin, and as you said, it is used in medicine, academia, law, taxonomy etc.
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    (Original post by Lulamae)
    When I started woking in marketing last year (I have since quit and gone back to school) I was exposed to wonderful French fashion, wit and language at every turn via my coworkers. I think it has caused me to turn into a bit of a francophile. I've started daydreaming about Paris and really want to learn French for the first time since being scared off it at school.

    Any hints and tips? Are those '6 weeks of French classes' before vacation offers worth it? Any audio books that would help? Should I do what my mother said and scare myself silly in the process by just moving out there for a year as an au pair?
    in my experience, you will only learn to speak if you have a regular opportunity to talk to a native speaker (1 on 1)- most places in the uk there are some french speakers about who are dying to learn/improve their english- so maybe ask at the local efl school or put up an ad... and do an exchange- their french for your english. I learnt spanish that way...

    the other thing that is really helpful is watching a programme like friends which you can dub in french with french subtitles
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    Whoever said French is dying, have you looked at a linguistic atlas recently?
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    I concur with some others who disagree that French is a dying language - it's far from dying! If anything it is evolving, just as English is evolving on a daily basis. I certainly don't see English dying out in the next couple of centuries!

    Yes, perhaps the use of French is on the decline on an international scale, but it's still one of the world's major languages and is spoken in many more countries than just France, so is definitely a worth-while language to learn!
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    Do you need to improve your French for any reasons (school, work, travel...)? I can help you!

    My name is Valérie. I’m a 25 year old woman. I’m Belgian, my mother tongue is French. And I have a lot of experience in teaching French (all-levels).

    £10 per hour for single and £8 per person for more than one.
    I can move at your place if you want.

    If you require any further information, feel free to contact me.

    A bientôt!

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Updated: April 26, 2012
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