Eavesdropping on the French [New MP3]

I’ve finally uploaded another French Listening mp3 and this one is a little different from the others. First of all, it is much harder to understand because I was basically eavesdropping on random conversations. It starts out with Mamie working on a crossword puzzle, then Parrain talking about winning the lottery and retiring, then Patricia asks Douné if he wants his hair cut, Parrain mentions the end of the world in 2012 according to the Mayan calendar, and then Obama shows up suddenly and the subject gets changed again to staying with a friend. Did you get that in English?? Now try it in French:

This is yet another reason why French is hard to understand. When Anglophones are sitting around a table talking, usually only one person talks at a time while everyone else listens. The opposite happens with Francophones. Several people talk at the same time so it makes it even harder for foreigners to follow along. (This isn’t a dig at Francophones, just an observation – and further support for the need to learn culture and language simultaneously.)

The previous 20 mp3s that I’ve uploaded have been representative of spontaneous, unrehearsed speech which I find much more helpful than carefully scripted and pronounced dialogs. The major difference with this mp3 is that no one knew I was recording them at the time, and so they didn’t have the chance to change their way of speaking like so many people do when they realize their words can be saved forever.  The goal is to make the listener aware of all of the false starts, fillers in speech, and especially slang vocabulary that are so hard to learn from books or even movies (movies are scripted and rehearsed, after all).

I’m trying to bring the real French language to those who want to avoid the catch-22 of language learning: you want to learn the real language before you go abroad so you won’t be totally lost and confused; however, the only way to learn the real language is to go abroad and be constantly exposed to it. I know there is no substitute for living in the country where the language is spoken and interacting with native speakers, but it’s not always an option for certain people. So thank goodness for the internet!

Updates to Come Soon, I Promise!

Just a short message to let you know/promise that I will update the site soon. I fully intended on adding more comparative material and French exercises and listening resources this weekend, but of course real life keeps getting in the way. I actually have some revision and translation projects to work on, as well as […]

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Informal French Vocabulary: Common Expressions (New Video)

New video on informal French: Don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel!

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Why French is Hard to Understand, Reason 17 of 428: Fake English Words

The real reason why French is hard to understand for English-speakers is the numerous liaisons (that I mentioned recently) and lack of junctures between words. English tends to pause more often between words and exhibit open juncture, while French pauses between phrases and links sounds between certain word boundaries so that determining individual words is […]

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Staying Legal in France: More Residency Card Crap (for lack of a better word)

La Préfecture, the love of my life. Immigrants in France must have a very close relationship with the préfecture. It’s the place where we have to go – every 3 months, in some cases – to obtain our residency cards and make sure we are not sans-papiers. France doesn’t exactly have a “permanent resident” status […]

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An Example of 21st Century Vocabulary

How many textbooks do you think include vocabulary words like this? If you don’t speak either German or French, the vocabulary word is “homosexual couple” and the sample sentence says “The homosexual couple is going to adopt a child.” If only that were true in more than 2% of the world… The next word is […]

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A Frequency Dictionary of French

A Frequency Dictionary of French: Core Vocabulary for Learners I just learned about this book today and I really wish I could go to a bookstore or library and look at it. Amazon’s Look Inside feature only includes the introduction and none of the actual content but Routledge’s site offers a few sample pages to […]

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March = Spring = Sun = Motivation

I was pleasantly surprised by the weather yesterday. Now that March is here, it seems like spring is too. It was sunny and not raining for once, so I got to walk to work. I hope it stays this way and winter doesn’t come back because the sunshine gives me motivation to actually get things […]

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Introducing: French Language Tutorial E-Book and Paperback Book

As of today, the French Language Tutorial is available for purchase as an e-book (PDF format) or as a coil-bound paperback book (8.5″ x 11″). It contains all of the original French tutorials (French 1-7) and French Phonetics, plus I included IPA transcriptions for most of the vocabulary lists and for all of the verb […]

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Online Language Learning Communities

I’ve decided I’m going to try out the free features of the online language learning communities, and report back with my findings (as well as prices for the pay features). But the first challenge is just finding all of the language communities. These are the ones that I plan on reviewing. Can anyone add others […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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The 2nd edition of French Language Tutorial is available as a PDF book. It has been updated with much more vocabulary, sample sentences, and cultural information, plus extended vocabulary lists, cross-referenced topics, and an alphabetical index.

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