NOTE : A Work in progress!
Day one: My current level of French is a few half-remembered words from an ‘O’ level college course decades ago, one I never completed anyway.
I’ve decided after years of depression and of hiding forever in games like WoW* that I want to turn my life around before it’s over. So this year I’m learning French, then maybe holiday in Paris for a spell, next year Italian or Spanish and so forth, making sure I keep brushing up so I don’t get rusty again.
*I had over 16,000 hours logged playing this game alone. To put this into perspective, they say the average person works 80,000 hours between leaving school and retiring. A college French course is something like 60 or 70 hours in class, plus assignments. If you are obsessed with that game, or others like it, just add up the time you spend playing and think how your life could be better spent.
As I have to go back to basics I started myself rolling with the supposedly well reviewed "Michel Thomas Method: French Introduction Course"
It comprises a booklet and two cd’s of what I can only describe as sounding like a German trying to teach you French, badly, while – and this is the really annoying part – sucking on a boiled sweet. There’s no other way to describe it. It sounded like he had a mouth full of pear drops or gobstoppers. Needless to say it got slung.
I do have a number of text books and will be working through these too, but you ideally want the CD and book sets to get a feel for the language. You can of course also watch news and whatever else on French Youtube. Another good idea is to search for ‘french newspapers online’ and bookmark your favourites, like Le Monde and La Tribune.
Similarly, if you are addicted to online games like WoW, Guildwars, whatever, create a character on the French servers instead, join a guild there and pick up what you can from Ventrilo, join in if you feel comfortable enough with the language.
Another good way is to look through your DVD collection, see which are multi-lingual and let you listen to it in French. (Even better if it has subtitles). Similar, if you are with Lovefilm or similar lending libraries, look for ones that are natively in French or that offer it as an option.
(Addenda: Or Prime, now, or various other streaming options. Such fast broadband options were not common when I first wrote this)
Month one: (to be continued!)
- About.com : general resource on the French Language
- Rosetta Stone: French
(£349 at present for the 5 set collection. Lot of money, but I’m tempted)
(Most of the links I had are now dead and have been removed from the page, need to update.)