Had my first face to face conversation in French!
Hi people, passed a bit of a milestone on the weekend! I have been learning for about 16 months and I heard two French people speaking on a train in England. I hadn't spoken to anyone in French face to face before and the opportunity seemed too good to pass up!
I waited until they had finishing speaking in order not to be rude and just said "excusez-moi, vous etes francais ?" She said "Oui", with a big smile, so I sat down and said a bit more in French, but then my language skills quickly went downhill, so I switched to English with a bit of French thrown in.
I made some mistakes, but so did they and we helped each other with our French and English.
After a few minutes it was time for me to get off the train, but still, at least a partial success!
It helped that she was friendly, but it also shows that people appreciate you speaking to them in their own language! My heart was pounding before hand, but I think I will be a bit less nervous in future!
Speaking to others in their heart language naturally warms their heart. Congratulations. I was married to a French man for 22 years and never became fluent because it was only spoken at family gatherings not in our home (United States) and I was not received with encouragement when I tried. Now I have a son living in France and am truly motivated to become completely fluent.
Sorry to hear it didn't work out well, but yes it looks like you have a lot of motivation to become fluent now. To help check-out some "frequency dictionaries". They aren't perfect and have a few mistakes in them, but I think they should form part of the language learning experience.
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Frequency_lists#French http://french.about.com/ - good for grammar. http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french - good dictionary http://www.linguee.com/ - another good dictionary http://www.lerobert.com/espace-numerique/telechargement.html - probably the best dictionaries, but they are not free.
Best of luck!
I'm glad you had the guts to speak out. What you managed to say or not is completely irrelevant, the important part is that you tried. And it seems you succeeded way more than you envisioned, good for you! Speaking to natives should be the number one goal of any language learner. I'm very happy you got a perfect opportunity to try it and went for it!
I hope it motivates you to work even harder to improve! Keep up the good work!
Félicitations! I'm not sure where you live, but a suggestion to you and all who wish to speak with other like minded people in the world of "des langues étrangères" is to try MeetUp.com and search French or French speakers (or whatever language) and perhaps you will find a group to meet with occasionally. Not every city will have a local group, so you might have to drive a bit to find an established group. If there are no options for you, perhaps you can start a group of your own! I meet twice a month at a local café with a group of Francophones from many French-speaking countries and learners like myself. i have been attending meetings since the end of 2009 and it has really helped my listening skills. I still get tongue-tied, but I'm much better than I was 6 years ago. Bonne chance to all of us learners!
Trés genial Eddie! I'm sure the next time you have an opportunity to speak French with a native speaker, you will be more confident. You brought up something that is really important. You were able to help the other person with her English. Sometimes we forget that there's a lot of room for cooperative support. Vous êtes une source d'inspiration!
How cool! Congrats to you! I speak English (obviously) and Spanish, but I am learning French and German as well and can't wait to find some people to practice with! I play a few online games with many international players, so that has let me practice a bit here and there. How exciting to you got some face-to-face time :)
WOW congrats! I had a slightly similar experience yesterday but I was rather surprised at the phrases that kept coming to me. I studied French in high school but I'd never had to opportunity to practice it and my study on Duolingo has been quite sporadic, so I enrolled for classes again. I took my assessment exam last evening... I was quite happy with myself :)
Where I live, we have meetup groups and language exchange events. I am learning German. I find that attempting to speak the language about once a week significantly improves my confidence and ability with speaking and thinking in the language. You might want to browse social networking sites for such groups and their events. I find that I now (after four months of learning German and three months of attending language exchange events) speak much more confidently than people who have taken then B1 courses at Goethe Institut if they are attending language exchange events for the very first time. More speaking practice!
I have discovered that Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses hold meetings in different languages eg french, spanish, italian. Since it is a church you can listen to the language for an hour or so with questions? and then if brave, try saying hello to the natives. A free opportunity to mingle and try a few sentences. You also get a chance to read along in the magazine, bible and sing also.
what a courage brother , is not really easy to break down your first conversation in public with the language you trying to speak. It's like you were trying to build up a mountain out of a mud and finally you succeeded by giving it a try. I am also in the same boat with you, let's just keep on digging the well, we will finally fine some fresh water the bottom of it.
Communication face to face is always the best way to learn a language. It's normal that you'll make some mistakes at the first time but slowly you get used to it and become fluent in French. Sometimes, I communicate in French with my mother because she's a french educated and knows french and this makes me easier to learn the language. Bonne chance!!
that's awesome. i hope to have a conversation like that oneday. when i was in france a woman in a shop tried to explain something to me in very loud fast french and i had no idea what she was saying. i hope the next time i go there, i will be able to understand more. it's also very helpful when the person is really nice.
I had a similar experience on a commuter train in the US. I was sitting next to a simultaneous translator for the Canadian Parliament. How cool is that? He was very patient with me and very encouraging. I opened with "Vous parlez français?" I knew he spoke French because I heard him speaking with his colleague. His English was perfect, too.