https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

Just can't learn French...

I listened to French story number 1 with Duo last night. If I hadn't previously read the same story in German at one time, I would not have had a clue what was going on! Been doing them both for roughly the same amount of time. Feeling sad...makes me just want to give up. Does anyone else have this problem?

January 21, 2019

39 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Huguescl

I’ve been studying Japanese for over a year now, and still it’s kinda hard for me to make a sentence. I don't feel discouraged, though because it’s just normal; it takes years before really being fluent in a new language, we are just humans.

But, even not perfect or fluent, only the fact that we open ourselves to a different culture in this world constitute for me a learning in itself that we should see as a valuable experience.

January 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/FernandaBa122974

That's truly a beautiful response :D

January 22, 2019

[deactivated user]

    Ganbatte!

    January 21, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/Huguescl

    ありがとう!

    January 21, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/Ken482461

    Beautiful reply! Here are some lingots!

    January 21, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/CommeuneTexane

    Be gentle with yourself, developing an ear for a language takes time and exposure. French is a little tricky because of the liaisons and the sounds that elide into one another. It makes for a smooth, beautiful sound, but it is difficult for learners to hear the individual words at first. Fortunately the internet has a wealth of video clips. A good place to start is with "French in Action". It's a learning series with a story and illustrations. It is entirely in French. The good part is the words and phrases are repeated and match the images. Very quickly it becomes easy to follow along and pick up the sounds. https://www.learner.org/resources/series83.html#

    If you don't mind the cost of a subscription, News in Slow French is another good place to hear the language (at two speeds) with exercises and transcripts. https://www.newsinslowfrench.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA-JXiBRCpARIsAGqF8wXdlc79KRaYoC8DG8q6kfxiXauAD1zjuU0gHrjL8lYU2uBwDl3yB5AaAlZsEALw_wcB

    Youtube is also great and there are a number of French teachers/learning channels. It seems that at level 25, you should have a good vocabulary, but it is your ear that you need to develop. Try listening to some of the basic channels like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq4Luegns8c, not for the vocabulary or grammar (which should be easy for you), but to help your ear.

    I also highly recommend Coffee Break French: https://radiolingua.com/coffeebreakfrench/ It starts out very introductory in season 1, but by season 4 is at a mid-intermediate level. Test it out and see which season suits you best.

    Good luck!

    January 21, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

    Merci beaucoup! :))

    January 22, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/WinterSoldier.

    Hi suellen (have your read gone with the wind?) don't give up. I feel the same way about spanish, but there is only one thing to do, keep going, because if you work hard enough on something you will probably succeed. Perhaps you need to take a break from french, 1 or 2 days, maybe take a step back and then restart.

    Best of luck!

    January 21, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

    Thanks, but I think it goes deeper than that...

    January 21, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

    Thanks...That's a good perspective Huguesci! :)

    January 21, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/rushap.0908

    same doe

    January 22, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/abbyandoreo

    Hi suellen007,

    I personally find the french stories very difficult, so don't worry! Don't give up!

    Letterlover13

    January 21, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

    Thank you!! :)(

    January 21, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/Framework20

    A lot of good suggestions have been posted. I find watching French political videos useful. There is a lot of repetition of not only same word but the same phrases. Also watching actual political speech are useful as they tend to be delivered slowly and clearly.

    January 23, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

    Hardly at that level, but thank you! :)

    January 23, 2019

    [deactivated user]

      You do hover over words to see hints, right?

      January 21, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

      No....in the stories or lessons?

      January 21, 2019

      [deactivated user]

        In the stories.

        January 21, 2019

        https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

        No, didn't realize the function was there.! But I am just disappointed in myself for never remembering French, when I remember German.

        January 21, 2019

        [deactivated user]

          Then try that function, and let us know how it goes. If you don't remember French, how about running through the course again?

          January 21, 2019

          https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

          Have completed another Duo course before the crown course was introduced. I'm about 2/3rds the way through that. Just doing revision now...

          January 21, 2019

          [deactivated user]

            Bonne chance.

            January 21, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/xpminuspx

            I think I can speak for everyone who's ever tried to learn a language by saying "YES! Of course I've felt like giving up!" The stories are a lot more difficult than the course, but that's a great thing! It's extremely tempting to feel overwhelmed, but I think the key is to notice that this is a perfect chance to become uncomfortable and to embrace it. Read through the story a few times and make sure that you understand the general point. Then, come back in a couple days and try it again.

            Of course it will feel like you're just memorizing the structure, but in the end, that's all language learning is. You'll pick up nuances each time that you didn't see before. As you start to see patterns in those nuances, maybe study those.

            It can be tempting to try to get it all right the first time and to beat yourself up if you can't. But give yourself a break! You mentioned that you're much more confident in German, and I can see that you're level 25 in French and Spanish. That's impressive! Be proud of where you are, and in time, as long as you practice French regularly (and you practice things that truly challenge you), you'll start to see huge improvement.

            January 21, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

            Hmmmm....Well it seems like torture nowadays...but I should practise more. I guess the other languages just seem easier, so I haven't put a great deal of effort into French. Okay....I'll give it a go! Thanks for your reply! :)

            January 21, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/Ken482461

            Hello suellen007, my grandmother from the English islands, only reached 6th class primary school. Never in her life did she attend any classes in foreign languages. By watching Venezuelan and Colombian telenovelas/soap operas everyday, she learned, without even trying, to understand and speak Spanish. Far from grammatically correct, but she could have a chat and buy her vegetables and fruits at the latin American stores here. As such, just start watching movies and cartoons, look at what is happening and try to understand. It may take a while, but you will be talking before you even realize it. Just don't be afraid or ashamed to make mistakes. You have had the chance to at least study and reach level 25 with Duolingo. A much much better chance than my grandmother ever had. Success and here are some lingots as a pick me up!

            January 21, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

            Ooohhh!! Thanks for the lingots! I admire your grandmother! Maybe I need more immersion.... nothing wrong with trying. Thank you for your tip. I just tend to shy away from listening to things, as I never understand, even if it's simple. I'll try some more...merci beaucoup! ;))

            January 21, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/lolaphilologist

            I hear you! It would be helpful to know what your routine is like with French. I like the "News in Slow French" (they also have German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian, but the Russian is quite different) which is helpful to get it "in your ear". Also I would recommend watching the same movie over and over like little kids do. They are doing it for the same reason you would do it now- the first time they're getting like half the words, then maybe 55%, then maybe 57%, etc. Eventually, you get it all and move on to another movie. I highly recommend this!

            January 21, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/JohnJohnNL

            It can be really hard at some stages. Remember that it takes anyone years and years to learn their native language, too. I discovered it helped me a lot to repeat simple matters a lot (just like babies do). Also, to get the feeling I already know "a lot", I read about subjects that are familiar to me, e.g. about my country in a language that I am learning (in my case the Netherlands, on the Danish wikipedia pages). That is very satisfying, because you know the context. For me, this kind of "excursions" are a great addon to duolingo.

            January 21, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

            That's an interesting thought...thank you! :)

            January 22, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/Manuel599019

            I have lived in the USA for 18 years and I speak English all day long; I have to preach a sermon in English at church every Sunday; but I still have to watch movies with the sub-titles on, sometimes the dialog is too hard to understand. So, don't get discouraged; keep going, you'll get better with time and practice.

            January 22, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

            Very brave of you! Congratulations! :))

            January 22, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/Manuel599019

            Thank you. Keep going and don't be afraid to make mistakes; you'll never progress if you are.

            January 24, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

            Thank you Manuel! :)

            January 24, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/SanaALI335437

            I just click on the words to find out their meaning

            January 22, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

            Thanks! :)

            January 22, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/DavidMarsh764255

            When I began everything was "juste un long bruit" as I tried to explain to someone in a French bar. I couldn't tell where one word ended and the next one began. I even had my hearing tested.

            I had exactly the same problem as you when I tried to listen to the same story three months ago. By coincidence I tried again today, and managed it (slowly) but scored the maximum XP.

            Here's what I've done in those three months: (1) I've put the time in, almost exclusively on Duo, or with real world sources (ie French internet radio). (2) I've studied the hints/helps with the lessons, tried to make sure I understand them and then run the lessons as fast as I possibly could, relying on what I'd learned rather than trying to revise or remember, I tried to make it instinctive (3) I did that by (a) visualising the words and phrases, thinking about my brothers, sister, parents, house, dogs etc, as though I were talking about my life (this really helped) (b) repeating and saying everything, really working on getting the pronunciation correct... doing this really helps me recognise words and become familiar with the way (i) the French speak and (ii) the way they string words together. (4) I don't miss a single lesson or try to jump forward. For me at least rapid repetition is the key, the faster you can absorb the info, the more you will remember it. I repeat something I've learned after 24 hours, 3 days, 7 days, 14 days and one month. I go as fast as I can through the material for each skill. If I make a mistake that's where I pour my extra energy and effort.

            So for me the keys are (a) put the time in (b) learn as fast as possible (b) have a structured repetion of what you are learning (c) practice your pronunciation of words and sentences and (d) probably most important, say like you mean it, say it like it's you that's speaking....

            You could try doing the story again, but this time, be one of the characters, pretend it's you whose renting the room and have just discovered your host is dating your old boyfriend. Practice the pronunciation of each line, recognise what you (the line) is trying to say. Repeat for the other character, then on your third run through just listen and try to answer the questions about their conversation.
            I hope that helps..

            January 26, 2019

            https://www.duolingo.com/suellen007

            I have to say, you're totally committed! Well done!

            January 26, 2019
            Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.