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 done. Plus I have less than 7 weeks of my job left, and then I go on a lot of fun trips this summer (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Croatia, and Italy!)

Glorious sun

I am continuing with reviewing the online language communities, though I have to admit I’m only focusing on 4 or 5 since the rest did not have much free content or they were simply sites for finding language teachers. I’m most interested in ways to learn vocabulary and pronunciation online for free, without necessarily needing a teacher or having to pay for anything.

And I am still working on a new informal French video, though I can’t decide if I should focus on more reductions in speech or informal vocabulary missing from textbooks. Perhaps I’ll just do both!  The first video has been up for about 2 weeks and it already has over 1,300 views, so I hope I’m helping all of those people to understand spoken French.

The French Listening podcast now has 20 mp3s available, and I think I’m going to take a little break before I figure out what to do next. I’ve got lots of audio to transcribe for the next round – interview with David’s grandma about her family moving from Italy to France in 1931 to escape fascism and what Annecy was like during the war plus random conversations that are basically eavesdropping. I wanted to record natural speech without anyone knowing that I was in fact recording because people change the way they speak (they tend to use less slang and talk slower) when they know they’re being recorded. I tell them afterwards that I was recording, of course!

Lastly, I’ve decided to focus more on the multilingual aspect of the site and attempt to update the vocabulary lists as well as the comparative tutorials. I’m looking for a way to allow people to choose which languages they want to compare instead of keeping with the English-French-Italian-Spanish order that is currently available. Any coders/tech people know how to do this? Javascript maybe?  So for example, if someone wanted to compare just English-French-German, they would just need to choose those languages and the page would automatically generate with only those lists.

Thanks to those who bought my French Language Tutorial book or sent a donation. I really appreciate your support!

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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Teach a Foreign Language in the Accent of the Listener?

A study from the University of Haifa shows that “perception of second language speech is easier when it is spoken in the accent of the listener and not in the ‘original’ accent of that language.” So if you are an American learning French, you will understand French better if it is spoken with an American […]

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I Love Multilingual Lists of Vocabulary and Verbs

For those who also love multilingual vocabulary lists or verb conjugations, I’ve updated the Romance and Germanic lists so they fit better on the screen. Each vocabulary category or verb now has its own page so they won’t take forever to load. The Romance languages include French, Italian, Spanish and some Portuguese for the vocabulary […]

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Vacation is for Working

I’ve been on vacation from the university since Thursday afternoon, but I’m not going anywhere or doing anything special. I’ve actually just been working at my computer everyday. Last night I managed to finish preparing all of my lessons for the rest of the semester (8 weeks left) and wrote a midterm exam. All that […]

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French Listening Resources: Weekly Updates to Podcast

I’ve just uploaded the latest mp3 to the French Listening Resources podcast, so it will be available for download soon through iTunes or immediately through the site. I’m going to try to update every weekend and also provide the transcript right away (in text format and as a new page so you can listen and […]

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Understanding Spoken French: Common Reductions in Everyday Speech

A simple video showing the differences between written and spoken French. I’m new to making videos and Youtube, but I’ve already uploaded a few travel videos and I plan to make more spoken & informal French videos to show people that learning written French from books is not enough.

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Learning Two Languages Together: Where are the Resources?

Remembering new vocabulary involves a lot of connections between what you already know and what you want to know. This is why I don’t agree with “target language only” classes. Sometimes you need your native language to help you  learn a second language, and sometimes a second language can help you learn a third language […]

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Let me sleep! And study languages! And work on my site! (I hate insomnia.)

Thanks to my insomnia and headaches, I haven’t been able to work much on my website or study languages. I basically get up, feel like a zombie, go to work, come home and still feel like a zombie and then try to sleep, unsuccessfully. Monday through Thursday. Luckily I have 3 day weekends, but that […]

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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.


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.

Visit the Store to buy the PDF e-book for $14.95 or paperback book for $29.95.