Many years ago, a girlfriend gave me an old French picture dictionary and I’ve wondered how I could use it as all the definitions of the words are in French too. She had bought it thinking that it would help her learn the language but as she was a complete beginner, the definitions weren’t much help to her because you needed to have some level of reasonable French to understand them.
This week, for a bit of a new mini challenge (I did write about setting mini challenges for yourself when it comes to learning something new), I decided to do the following every day:
- Open to 2 pages of the dictionary
- Look at the words, understand their meaning
- Concoct a little story in my head
- Write a paragraph trying to use as many of the words on those two pages
- Post it to HelloTalk and iTalki apps for someone to provide me feedback
- Review the feedback and revise and rewrite the paragraph correctly (I’m thinking I will type it into blog posts)
As much as possible I’m trying to create a theme for each story and pretend that I’m a 9 year old boy who lives with his father and who misses his mother.
I’ve been using HelloTalk as the app of choice to post the stories to it simply because I get IMMEDIATE results from French natives around the world who respond to posts and help each other correcting whatever language they need to learn.
In return, I’ve started posting some mini stories in English about life, culture, food, sport, flora and fauna here in Australia in English to help those wanting to read and ask questions in English. Such posts always have more interaction and it helps with introducing you to people who can help you with your French. Already, there’s a couple of people I’ve been chatting with back and forth and who have been helping me with my written French. The app is a lot of fun with lots of different functionality within it. I’m thinking of buying a full subscription to it as I’m in it every day.
I’ll share the updates with the French stories but already I have noticed that the vocabulary has improved because I simply remember the story that goes with it. The words are written in some form of context (the story) so they’re memorable as well as testing out my grammar and phrase structure.
Next week I start a Conversation Class through the Alliance Francaise which will be 2 hours every night for 3 days and then followed by a 10 week B1.1 Course every Monday night for 2 hours.
It’s not lost on me that I have spent HOURS on picking up this new skill at the expense of other skills and the irony isn’t lost on me that I need to be maintaining this skill in order for me to maintain my proficiency. That’s okay. I know that the moment the borders open up again and international travel (for an extended time) is allowed – I think it won’t be until a couple of years yet – by that time, I’m hoping I’m fluent. A longish trip overseas to France will be the cherry on top – and my reward for sticking with it.