https://www.duolingo.com/deborah853655

Becoming fluent in French

I have been doing Duolingo for a couple of months to refresh the French I used to know way back in high school (45+ years ago). My personal goal has been to reclaim the language of my ancestors that somehow - sadly - did not get passed down to me. I discovered Duolingo by accident when casting about for an online course (one cost over $600!). With 56% fluency rating, while nowhere near fluent, I know that I could travel in France and make my needs known. But I also listen to movies in French (or dubbed in French) whenever I can (Haute Cuisine is a lovely movie). And sometimes I can even understand without checking the soustitres LOL! On DL I find it important to close my eyes and listen to the French and translate it in my head before checking the typed text. This spring I have invited some young people from France to stay with us and that has been a REAL motivator to keep my tree golden. Memrise is also great and you can buy a university conversation text to expand your vocab (better yet - take a course!) So it is important to include the language in our lives in whatever way we can. Yes, the fluency badges are not accurate, yes the percentage levels are confusing - but the main thing is that we have made the choice to expand our minds for whatever our personal reasons may be, whatever age we begin. My goal is to one day make it to France (before I turn 70!) and to me learning a language is great fun - like doing sudoku that talks to you!! But a warning to those who have just begun - Duolingo is extremely addictive as you can see from all those with multiple language badges!!! THANK YOU DUOLINGO!!!! (But don't make the mistake I did - use the online DL version not the app - the app does not record your fluency percentage very well at all!)

February 8, 2017

25 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Johan_in_France

Thanks for sharing your story! For me, an additional and good way to include the French language in my life is to listen to French podcasts on subjects I'm interested in. You can easily go back and repeat if you didn't understand and in some apps you can even control (slowdown) the speed. Another way is to listen to the daily news in easy French: search for "Journal en français facile".

And yes, it's addictive! As soon as I'm a little more fluent in French I want to start with the beautiful Russian language. And there are so many more unknown worlds to discover...

February 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/deborah853655

Thank you! I just tried the France24 stream that someone recommended but it is above my abilities. I am definitely going to try your suggestion. Could you pls add it to the discussion: "Favorite movies & TV programs in French to help improve our listening abilities" so others can find it? Thanks!!

February 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexandraM5483

Thanks for the tips!

February 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/LanguageLover.

What a great story! Thanks for sharing!

February 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/lilyflower2312

Do you know russian I do

February 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/LanguageLover.

I'm not fluent yet. Hopefully soon, though!

February 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DogePamyuPamyu

gratz debbie

February 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Lorel90

Wonderful, what a great story and good tips, yes Duolingo is very addictive. Good luck.

February 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/lilyflower2312

Thanks for sharing!That was a great story!Good Luck!It was wonderful

February 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/becky3086

I really like the French in Action course. You can watch the videos online and they are all in French but slow and I am getting a lot out of it.

February 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/deborah853655

I just checked it out. Pretty cool! For the intro lessons which are very basic, I just left the audio going while I did something else. I like how they just talk, repeating the same experience with different people, so it stretches the brain to take in different voices saying the same thing. Thanks for this great suggestion! Have a lingot (-:

February 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/FredMefford

I'm sorry, what is the French In Action course? Is it on youtube?

February 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/deborah853655

http://www.learner.org/resources/series83.html# I haven't been able to watch the video after the first one, not sure what is involved.

February 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/FredMefford

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

February 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/StefanGrud1

I started learning back in December, I just turned 15, do you think fluency plus an accent is possible at this age?

February 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/deborah853655

OMG! You can certainly learn to speak like a true Francophone - but you will need to eventually get immersed into a French speaking environment, whether that is with friends, schoolmates or eventual travel. But KEEP GOING! A friend of mine did an international exchange experience in Japan when she graduated high school - by the time she finished, her Japanese accent was almost perfect. But for now just try watching movies (dubbed in French) that you already know and don't try to get every word, just the gist of it. And stop and say phrases out loud... Have fun! It is hard for those of us not living in French speaking communities to get our ears accustomed to the language, so for now I rarely watch a movie or tv show unless it is French. Lots of beginner shows on youtube. You are already at level 12! Amazing progress in just a few short months! But just keep going and going - then add a few other languages and you will be ready to travel Europe after university - maybe even work for the UN - sky's the limit at 15! (-: Apparently Switzerland has excellent language training and a UN staff person recommends listening to UN recordings as a way to prepare for their entrance exam: https://languagecareers.un.org/content/adrian-delgado When I get to level 25 I think I will try that!!

February 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/StefanGrud1

Thank you so much for the reply! :) I will listen to more videos/movies in French now!

February 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/deborah853655

You can also follow the discussion: "Favorite movies & TV programs in French to help improve our listening abilities!"

February 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/FredMefford

I've been watching a French tv series that I buy from Amazon. It's called "A French Village", you might like it too.

February 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/deborah853655

Merci, je l'ai réservé à la bibliothèque! Je vais aimer le regarder!

February 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/deborah853655

I just started a new discussion on this topic (French movies & TV programs to help...) and added your suggestion to the list. I am sure that others will appreciate hearing about any other favorites you might have!

February 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackie473134

Spoke French fluently from when I first started to talk when I was little till around 10. It was my Dad's side of the family that is French Canadian. Stopped seeing that side of the family and my Mom doesn't speak french, so I lost it. Trying to refresh my memory and its slowly coming back. Thank you :D

February 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/deborah853655

Yes, I totally get that! My Manitoba parents were both Métis but separated. She was the first non-French speaking on both sides of our ancestors so as a result, we did not learn French at home. I was raised for a while with my Métis grandmother but she did not want to teach me French as she thought her French wasn't good enough - the Manitoba school system was not always so supportive of the French language and especially not the aboriginal-French mix that my grandmother most likely spoke. Yet, I heard it spoken all the time and longed to speak it. I think will quickly rediscover your language as you go. I was amazed at how intuitively my old brain responded and I only had the French in school 45+ years ago. I bet you will be back to fluent in no time! You go gal!

February 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackie473134

Thank you for the support and there is some Métis on my Dad's side as well. Feel weird that i lost my language cause i spoke french first, than english before starting school when I was young. Great to know someone else knows how i feel. Funny thing is sometimes i have trouble with words in english even though that's my current main language. My boyfriend teases me and i say "My Frog's trying to come out" lol Nice to meet u :D

February 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/deborah853655

yes, I can well imagine that French is embedded deep in your psyche! We meet the world in our mother tongue and so that is such a part of you. Unfortunately my mother sent my two older brothers to our French school which was rather far from our house, and the nuns were not at all supportive of the English kids. Although my oldest brother stayed with our dad's parents often and he did speak French as a child but forgot it. My older brother did not so when he showed up at the French school, too young and not speaking any French, the nuns just ignored him. When he walked home in the middle of Winnipeg winter with only one boot on - my mother pulled both boys out of that school and put them in the English school which was closer. Alas, I did not get a chance to go to the French school after that. But I do give my mom a lot of credit for trying to preserve the language. Because of her English dad, who did not allow French to be spoken in the home, my mom did not learn to speak it but she was a sponge in school so I am sure she could read and write it quite well. Interesting isn't it - how one missing boot determined the course of our family's lives in so many ways! I know that my oldest brother did not have a good experience with our dad's parents, so it is no wonder he lost that language. My husband has also lost his birth language while his older sisters kept it - they say that you can learn languages very easy as a child, but you need to remain in that environment long enough for them to solidify. I wish that I had been given that chance - but we do have the ability to reclaim what should be ours. Your accent will most likely come back to you, in fact if I am around French people speaking English, I hear myself speaking English with a French accent! Exactly what I heard as a child huh? Our brain remembers... but I would love to be able to speak French with a good French accent - one day. If I could only do a mind meld with Catherine Frot!

February 12, 2017
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