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Learning French again when you have receptive bilingualism

Hi
I think I have receptive bilingualism when it comes to french but I really want to correct this and gain fluency in a language that was spoken to me at a younger age as I want to hopefully one day work in Paris when im older.

I come from a francophone country where we spoke Lingala and french my house mixed it up which meant pure french was heard when we spoke to french people.

My main issue is that I struggle to form sentences even though I know the majority of the words (basically grammar) I did French at gcse got an 8 crammed the grammar and ran away so it never stuck.

It’s also silly but I really find it embarassing to speak and then mess up because I don’t know a word and then I go blank.

People speak about going to france but im super scared to go and then someone out of pity switching to English because they see im struggling also I spoke Belgian french which means a slight accent and being judged . The awful french stereotype scares me.

I think I’ve also found it super hard to keep when someone is talking now because of the slang and when people talk they slur their words etc. I know a few because my cousins in Paris used them but when they do speak what usually happens is that subconsciously I’m just picking out phrases that I know and basically figuring what they’re saying like that but I know that’s horrible way to do it and not beneficial at all .


I still have my french gcse text book and my cgp book which has the grammar that I can use to refresh my mind and start practicing it when speaking.

Which language programs would be best suitable for my situation I’ve heard of babbel or duolingo but heard some negative reviews but still not too sure.

I’m heading off to uni at ucl on a stem course but I really want to be back to practicing french and improving my french I think I have a higher chance of being fluent in a year and half if I stuck to it because of my receptive bilingualism putting me on a slight pedestal. But worried ucl don’t have many french internships I know my course allows a year abroad but It’s not clear if a year abroad is in france or any french speaking areas

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Hey, I have no tips unfortunately but I'm also a receptive bilingual and can relate to a lot of what you write here. :redface:

This is a bit of a shot in the dark but I wonder if @Meduse may be able to help? :smile:
Original post by rehena12
Hi
I think I have receptive bilingualism when it comes to french but I really want to correct this and gain fluency in a language that was spoken to me at a younger age as I want to hopefully one day work in Paris when im older.

I come from a francophone country where we spoke Lingala and french my house mixed it up which meant pure french was heard when we spoke to french people.

My main issue is that I struggle to form sentences even though I know the majority of the words (basically grammar) I did French at gcse got an 8 crammed the grammar and ran away so it never stuck.

It’s also silly but I really find it embarassing to speak and then mess up because I don’t know a word and then I go blank.

People speak about going to france but im super scared to go and then someone out of pity switching to English because they see im struggling also I spoke Belgian french which means a slight accent and being judged . The awful french stereotype scares me.

I think I’ve also found it super hard to keep when someone is talking now because of the slang and when people talk they slur their words etc. I know a few because my cousins in Paris used them but when they do speak what usually happens is that subconsciously I’m just picking out phrases that I know and basically figuring what they’re saying like that but I know that’s horrible way to do it and not beneficial at all .


I still have my french gcse text book and my cgp book which has the grammar that I can use to refresh my mind and start practicing it when speaking.

Which language programs would be best suitable for my situation I’ve heard of babbel or duolingo but heard some negative reviews but still not too sure.

I’m heading off to uni at ucl on a stem course but I really want to be back to practicing french and improving my french I think I have a higher chance of being fluent in a year and half if I stuck to it because of my receptive bilingualism putting me on a slight pedestal. But worried ucl don’t have many french internships I know my course allows a year abroad but It’s not clear if a year abroad is in france or any french speaking areas


There are loads of language courses, at all levels, that you can do at UCL. You are also in London, there will be lots of opportunities to speak French if you look them out.
Reply 3
Original post by rehena12
Hi
I think I have receptive bilingualism when it comes to french but I really want to correct this and gain fluency in a language that was spoken to me at a younger age as I want to hopefully one day work in Paris when im older.

I come from a francophone country where we spoke Lingala and french my house mixed it up which meant pure french was heard when we spoke to french people.

My main issue is that I struggle to form sentences even though I know the majority of the words (basically grammar) I did French at gcse got an 8 crammed the grammar and ran away so it never stuck.

It’s also silly but I really find it embarassing to speak and then mess up because I don’t know a word and then I go blank.

People speak about going to france but im super scared to go and then someone out of pity switching to English because they see im struggling also I spoke Belgian french which means a slight accent and being judged . The awful french stereotype scares me.

I think I’ve also found it super hard to keep when someone is talking now because of the slang and when people talk they slur their words etc. I know a few because my cousins in Paris used them but when they do speak what usually happens is that subconsciously I’m just picking out phrases that I know and basically figuring what they’re saying like that but I know that’s horrible way to do it and not beneficial at all .


I still have my french gcse text book and my cgp book which has the grammar that I can use to refresh my mind and start practicing it when speaking.

Which language programs would be best suitable for my situation I’ve heard of babbel or duolingo but heard some negative reviews but still not too sure.

I’m heading off to uni at ucl on a stem course but I really want to be back to practicing french and improving my french I think I have a higher chance of being fluent in a year and half if I stuck to it because of my receptive bilingualism putting me on a slight pedestal. But worried ucl don’t have many french internships I know my course allows a year abroad but It’s not clear if a year abroad is in france or any french speaking areas

Salut (translation: hello).

So, the good thing is that you do actually have an advantage having been exposed to the language. You have some past knowledge that will have remained, but you essentially need to 'resurrect' the vocabulary and structures which you have forgotten. More exposure is key to this. A grade 8 a GCSE is a good start, but obviously, it's some way away from where you hope to be in the future. Your approach to language learning really doesn't need to be all that different, except that you need to identify your current level and where you need to improve most. You need to gather a bunch of good quality resources (either online or in person) to start learning again. A tutor (depending on whether you can afford it) may be a beneficial. If not, you can by all means take online courses or just try self-teaching with textbooks and exposure to French materials (i.e. podcasts, books, news articles, online/offline content). Make note of any new vocaulary/idioms that you come across - either write them down in a notebook, an online document, or you can create flashcards on Quizlet (recommend). If you're going to use an online dictionary, I'd suggest WordReference. LawlessFrench is a really great website for explaining grammatical concepts, providing vocab lists and some other great resources.

Babbel and Duolingo are fairly similar. Of the two, I'd say Babbel is the best. However, both are quite limiting if you do not have a paid subscription. They are good for a beginner-nearly intermediate learner, but after that point, you may find the exercises getting a bit repetitive or basic. I used both at GCSE level, but never stuck with it and did fine with just a textbook and lessons. If you are going to spend your money regularly, I think it's more valuable to invest in a tutor instead. By all means, keep using the textbooks you already own if they suit your level.

You are going to need motivation. Anyone needs this when learning a language, regardless of what level they're at. You have a goal (working in Paris) and this can be a great source of motivation. Pinning up pictures on your bedroom wall or by your desk can be a nice reminder to keep progressing. Also, consider why you 'lost' the language and how you are going to ensure that you stay consistent.

It appears you have some anxiety and perhaps some shame that revolves around making mistakes, fluent speakers correcting you and switching to English. This is really just a matter of acceptance. You can only control your learning and your actions. If you make the odd mistake, it really isn't a big deal. Every language learner makes mistakes. It's inevitable. You won't know what you're capable of if you don't try. If someone switches to English (which has happened once to me when I was working in Lille), it's not the end of the world. If it's a stranger, don't worry about it. If it's someone you're going to be speaking to often/working beside/getting to know better, you can ask them to continue the conversation in French so that you can progress. Ignore biased/rude people if they want to be picky about your accent. Accents are wonderful things and shouldn't be used to discriminate. The fact you are trying to learn a language shows your dedication and this shouldn't be overshadowed by something as superficial as an accent.

I am not familiar with UCL so I'm not sure whether or not they will have French internships, however, you can always contact the languages department and ask them to notify you of any language-focused activities that are accessible to non-language students. There may also be a French/languge society you can join up to. It's certainly worth looking into.

Essentially, I advise that you take some sort of proficiency test to establish your level and then to go from there with any resources you can get your hands on. Create a plan around your weekly routine and stick to it. You of all people will know that language learning requires consistent bursts of effort.

If you have any more questions or need some advice, feel free to respond here whenever.

Bonne chance ! (Translation: good luck)
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 4
Original post by threeportdrift
There are loads of language courses, at all levels, that you can do at UCL. You are also in London, there will be lots of opportunities to speak French if you look them out.


I’ve seen there are quite a few international french students that are coming here to study so I hope that I’ll able to gravitate towards them and become friends with others who are french or french speaking countries ! I’m not too sure how the language courses but are they able to do full immersion in france that would be the best for me when I reach a certain level
Reply 5
Original post by Meduse
Salut.

So, the good thing is that you do actually have an advantage having been exposed to the language. You have some past knowledge that will have remained, but you essentially need to 'resurrect' the vocabulary and structures which you have forgotten. More exposure is key to this. A grade 8 a GCSE is a good start, but obviously, it's some way away from where you hope to be in the future. Your approach to language learning really doesn't need to be all that different, except that you need to identify your current level and where you need to improve most. You need to gather a bunch of good quality resources (either online or in person) to start learning again. A tutor (depending on whether you can afford it) may be a beneficial. If not, you can by all means take online courses or just try self-teaching with textbooks and exposure to French materials (i.e. podcasts, books, news articles, online/offline content). Make note of any new vocaulary/idioms that you come across - either write them down in a notebook, an online document, or you can create flashcards on Quizlet (recommend). If you're going to use an online dictionary, I'd suggest WordReference. LawlessFrench is a really great website for explaining grammatical concepts, providing vocab lists and some other great resources.

Babbel and Duolingo are fairly similar. Of the two, I'd say Babbel is the best. However, both are quite limiting if you do not have a paid subscription. They are good for a beginner-nearly intermediate learner, but after that point, you may find the exercises getting a bit repetitive or basic. I used both at GCSE level, but never stuck with it and did fine with just a textbook and lessons. If you are going to spend your money regularly, I think it's more valuable to invest in a tutor instead. By all means, keep using the textbooks you already own if they suit your level.

You are going to need motivation. Anyone needs this when learning a language, regardless of what level they're at. You have a goal (working in Paris) and this can be a great source of motivation. Pinning up pictures on your bedroom wall or by your desk can be a nice reminder to keep progressing. Also, consider why you 'lost' the language and how you are going to ensure that you stay consistent.

It appears you have some anxiety and perhaps some shame that revolves around making mistakes, fluent speakers correcting you and switching to English. This is really just a matter of acceptance. You can only control your learning and your actions. If you make the odd mistake, it really isn't a big deal. Every language learner makes mistakes. It's inevitable. You won't know what you're capable of if you don't try. If someone switches to English (which has happened once to me when I was working in Lille), it's not the end of the world. If it's a stranger, don't worry about it. If it's someone you're going to be speaking to often/working beside/getting to know better, you can ask them to continue the conversation in French so that you can progress. Ignore biased/rude people if they want to be picky about your accent. Accents are wonderful things and shouldn't be used to discriminate. The fact you are trying to learn a language shows your dedication and this shouldn't be overshadowed by something as superficial as an accent.

I am not familiar with UCL so I'm not sure whether or not they will have French internships, however, you can always contact the languages department and ask them to notify you of any language-focused activities that are accessible to non-language students. There may also be a French/languge society you can join up to. It's certainly worth looking into.

Essentially, I advise that you take some sort of proficiency test to establish your level and then to go from there with any resources you can get your hands on. Create a plan around your weekly routine and stick to it. You of all people will know that language learning requires consistent bursts of effort.

If you have any more questions or need some advice, feel free to respond here whenever.

Bonne chance !


Thank you so much this was super helpful I currently just watch a lot of french films and YouTubers and add french subtitles and if there’s a word I don’t remember I add to a bank.

Do you think Google translate is good source as well

How many hours a day should help me progress in a language that I have some knowledge of anyways I plan to do 1hr a day practicing grammar , excercises etc and then 2hrs probably watching french podcast and films .

Also do you know where best to find a proficiency test to test my level of the language.

Currently and probably for the first 6 months I won’t be able to afford a tutor btw.
Reply 6
Original post by rehena12
Thank you so much this was super helpful I currently just watch a lot of french films and YouTubers and add french subtitles and if there’s a word I don’t remember I add to a bank.

Do you think Google translate is good source as well

How many hours a day should help me progress in a language that I have some knowledge of anyways I plan to do 1hr a day practicing grammar , excercises etc and then 2hrs probably watching french podcast and films .

Also do you know where best to find a proficiency test to test my level of the language.

Currently and probably for the first 6 months I won’t be able to afford a tutor btw.

I'm glad I could help.

French films/series and YouTubers are a great way to practice your listening skills. The subtitles also help with your reading and translating skills. I see you're already using the technique of making a note of new vocabulary, this will help a lot.

Please avoid Google Translate. Yes, some simple translations can be accurate, but on the whole, it's pretty bad. You can end up with some pretty ridiculous translations. Best to use WordReference for any individual words you're unsure of, and a textbook for grammatical concepts.

As for proficiency tests, there are many online ones that are free but they're not really 'standardised' and cannot be compared to proper CEFR ones (which I believe you must pay for, are much more detailed and you get a certificate). I think the ones offered online should give you a rough idea of where you are at in terms of levels, though. You don't need to pay for one.

You could try this one: https://www.esl.co.uk/en/online-language-tests/french-test/start-test (20 minute test)

Honestly, the amount of time you should dedicate to studying in order to achieve X level really depends on a lot of different factors, the biggest one being your outside commitments and how much time you have left. I think you definitely should be dedicating some time each day. The amount of time you're spending on it right now seems fine.

It's okay if you can't afford a tutor. Just stick with what you're doing right now and expose yourself to the language as much as possible.
Reply 7
Original post by Meduse
I'm glad I could help.

French films/series and YouTubers are a great way to practice your listening skills. The subtitles also help with your reading and translating skills. I see you're already using the technique of making a note of new vocabulary, this will help a lot.

Please avoid Google Translate. Yes, some simple translations can be accurate, but on the whole, it's pretty bad. You can end up with some pretty ridiculous translations. Best to use WordReference for any individual words you're unsure of, and a textbook for grammatical concepts.

As for proficiency tests, there are many online ones that are free but they're not really 'standardised' and cannot be compared to proper CEFR ones (which I believe you must pay for, are much more detailed and you get a certificate). I think the ones offered online should give you a rough idea of where you are at in terms of levels, though. You don't need to pay for one.

You could try this one: https://www.esl.co.uk/en/online-language-tests/french-test/start-test (20 minute test)

Honestly, the amount of time you should dedicate to studying in order to achieve X level really depends on a lot of different factors, the biggest one being your outside commitments and how much time you have left. I think you definitely should be dedicating some time each day. The amount of time you're spending on it right now seems fine.

It's okay if you can't afford a tutor. Just stick with what you're doing right now and expose yourself to the language as much as possible.


For me I’m not in a great rush there isn’t a timer on me but I see myself wanting to go to Paris 2024 so maybe that could be an end goal maybe ?

But also I don’t see myself being fluent as fluency in a language is difficult especially because French is growing all the time new slang etc but just enough that I could live there and people don’t feel that they need slow down while they speak.

I’m considering babbel and getting a subscription but I’ve also heard of Rosetta Stone and bay there’s so many I’m like which is best suited to someone with some knowledge in a language already.
Reply 8
Original post by rehena12
For me I’m not in a great rush there isn’t a timer on me but I see myself wanting to go to Paris 2024 so maybe that could be an end goal maybe ?

But also I don’t see myself being fluent as fluency in a language is difficult especially because French is growing all the time new slang etc but just enough that I could live there and people don’t feel that they need slow down while they speak.

I’m considering babbel and getting a subscription but I’ve also heard of Rosetta Stone and bay there’s so many I’m like which is best suited to someone with some knowledge in a language already.


I’ve just did the test and got a B1 which is better than I expected I expected much worse
Reply 9
I think the plan as I’ve done the test is in a year to go from B1 to C1
Original post by rehena12
For me I’m not in a great rush there isn’t a timer on me but I see myself wanting to go to Paris 2024 so maybe that could be an end goal maybe ?

But also I don’t see myself being fluent as fluency in a language is difficult especially because French is growing all the time new slang etc but just enough that I could live there and people don’t feel that they need slow down while they speak.

I’m considering babbel and getting a subscription but I’ve also heard of Rosetta Stone and bay there’s so many I’m like which is best suited to someone with some knowledge in a language already.

Yes, that's a good time to pick and with 2 years of consistent efforts, I think you can progress significantly.

It's true, every language changes and people are always coining new terms and inventing new slang. One advantage you do have, however, is anglicisms! The French use lots of English words to replace their own and since you speak English, these should be easy to spot and easier to remember. In general, though, it's all about exposure and allowing yourself to be immersed in certain situations, even if it may feel a bit scary.

From memory, I believe Babbel has an option for beginners and more advanced learners? I could be wrong, though. You'll have to have a look. I'm sure both Babbel and Rosetta Stone have free trials, so I'd advise you do those before paying for a whole month.
Original post by rehena12
I’ve just did the test and got a B1 which is better than I expected I expected much worse

That's a good start. You have a pretty good chance at going from B1 to C1 in two years.
Reply 12
Original post by Meduse
That's a good start. You have a pretty good chance at going from B1 to C1 in two years.


Thank you ! Do you have any grammar book suggestions I’ve decided from watching a few videos and some forums that I’m going to try out Busuu babbel for learning and vocabulary and grammar and for grammar dr french but I’ve seen a bit about LingQ and language transfer.

Looking through my GCSEs book it not all the tenses are their and want to make sure I know all the tenses. Which book do u think would be great to practice and do exercises for grammar ? Especially to reach the B2/C1 level
Reply 13
Original post by Meduse
Yes, that's a good time to pick and with 2 years of consistent efforts, I think you can progress significantly.

It's true, every language changes and people are always coining new terms and inventing new slang. One advantage you do have, however, is anglicisms! The French use lots of English words to replace their own and since you speak English, these should be easy to spot and easier to remember. In general, though, it's all about exposure and allowing yourself to be immersed in certain situations, even if it may feel a bit scary.

From memory, I believe Babbel has an option for beginners and more advanced learners? I could be wrong, though. You'll have to have a look. I'm sure both Babbel and Rosetta Stone have free trials, so I'd advise you do those before paying for a whole month.


Luckily I’ve booked a trip to Paris in November and the plan is even though such a touristic area and I would like to take the plunge and speak as much French as possible and socialise in french
Original post by rehena12
Thank you ! Do you have any grammar book suggestions I’ve decided from watching a few videos and some forums that I’m going to try out Busuu babbel for learning and vocabulary and grammar and for grammar dr french but I’ve seen a bit about LingQ and language transfer.

Looking through my GCSEs book it not all the tenses are their and want to make sure I know all the tenses. Which book do u think would be great to practice and do exercises for grammar ? Especially to reach the B2/C1 level

French Grammar and Usage is the one I prefer to use (I study French at university). You may/may not like it depending on your learning style. There's no fun little exercises, it's very different from a GCSE textbook. By all means, explore what's out there and see what you like the look of. Collins also do some good grammar books.

For grammar exercises, there are plenty of workbooks out there available to purchase, or even free online resources. I don't have a specific one to recommend. You could always try an A-Level grammar workbook. I believe AQA do a good one. A-Level language understanding is approximately equivalent to B2.
Reply 15
Original post by Meduse
French Grammar and Usage is the one I prefer to use (I study French at university). You may/may not like it depending on your learning style. There's no fun little exercises, it's very different from a GCSE textbook. By all means, explore what's out there and see what you like the look of. Collins also do some good grammar books.

For grammar exercises, there are plenty of workbooks out there available to purchase, or even free online resources. I don't have a specific one to recommend. You could always try an A-Level grammar workbook. I believe AQA do a good one. A-Level language understanding is approximately equivalent to B2.


Does the a level text book cover all the tenses with a recap I think going through those tenses and doing the excercises. From my friends who took the alevel I heard a lot of the a level was actually analysing text but that’s not my main goal I just want to understand with great fluency and write use tenses fluently will be super helpful with Busuu
Original post by rehena12
Does the a level text book cover all the tenses with a recap I think going through those tenses and doing the excercises. From my friends who took the alevel I heard a lot of the a level was actually analysing text but that’s not my main goal I just want to understand with great fluency and write use tenses fluently will be super helpful with Busuu

No, there is a grammar workbook for the A-Level curriculum from what I remember. If you have a look online you should be able to find it. One paper for A-Level is usually essay writing centred around a book/film, but the workbook I mentioned isn't for that. It should cover all past tenses, all future tenses, the conditional, the passive voice, and the entire subjunctive mood.

Bare in mind that programmes such as Busuu can often be aimed at beginner learners, so you may at some point find them not being so effective anymore. If this does happen, you can always unsubscribe.
Reply 17
Original post by Meduse
No, there is a grammar workbook for the A-Level curriculum from what I remember. If you have a look online you should be able to find it. One paper for A-Level is usually essay writing centred around a book/film, but the workbook I mentioned isn't for that. It should cover all past tenses, all future tenses, the conditional, the passive voice, and the entire subjunctive mood.

Bare in mind that programmes such as Busuu can often be aimed at beginner learners, so you may at some point find them not being so effective anymore. If this does happen, you can always unsubscribe.


Ah thank you I’ve also realised I’ll also be talking and I’ll forget a word than I’ll search it up quickly so I think speeding through Busuu will recap me the vocab .


I’m also trying to get over the embarrassment of having an accent when speaking
Original post by rehena12
Ah thank you I’ve also realised I’ll also be talking and I’ll forget a word than I’ll search it up quickly so I think speeding through Busuu will recap me the vocab .


I’m also trying to get over the embarrassment of having an accent when speaking

That's a good plan, fingers crossed. As I said, WordReference is the most reliable and you get a proper idea of the context in which a word/phrase is used. Great for correct translations to make note of. Highly recommend.

I can empathise with your embarrassment, but keep telling yourself that the world is a better place because of that accent difference. If we all spoke in the same way, life would be pretty boring. If anything, it adds charm!
Reply 19
Thank you so much this has been so helpful thank you again !!

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