<a href="”><img class="blogimg" src="” alt=”, by ” border=”0″ align=”right”>After stalling out a bit, I’ve returned to studying French. I ordered a copy of Easy French Reader, which has an ugly cover, I’ll admit, but is still a good introductory book. The book is in three parts: Part I contains a set of dialogues between an American teenager, Christine, and her French friend Charles, both of whom live in Paris. Part II is a collection of essays, written in French, about figures from French history. Part III contains several short stories, from writers such as Zola, that are mostly intact but have a few edits to make the vocabulary more suitable for beginning readers.
I’m still also working through French for Reading, but it’s slow-going. The audience for that book is graduate students who need French to do study and research, and so the prose is academic, scientific, and, I think, stilted and dry. I found myself bogging down, so I wanted something a little less erudite.
With my focus so squarely on written French, my pronunciation lags behind. That’s okay to an extent; I don’t foresee conversing in French in the near future, but I would like to read it. I do, however, want to begin developing an ear for the language so that I can understand, for example, the dialogue in French-language movies. Also, I’d eventually like to take a French class, and a head-start in verbal abilities will help.
With that in mind, I’ve been working through the French-language activities offered as part of the BBC’s languages series. Without buying the videos, of course, I can’t view the Beeb’s French programs, but the website offers interactive modules that allow you to listen to and practice conversational French.
It’s standard introductory material–asking for directions, ordering a drink or a meal, buying Metro tickets, inquiring about the price of a piece of merchandise–but it’s a good start to picking up the sounds of French words.