December 31, 2013, by Guest blog
For me the biggest improvement is my confidence in speaking French
Having spoken very little French over the Summer, which I regretted instantly when I arrived in France, I really struggled for the first few days to get back into it. My landlady, normally a little rudely, would often have to correct me or point out that I wasn’t making much sense! However since then I think my French has slowly started to not only come back to me but improve as well, thank god!
Since I have been back home for the holidays most people’s first question has been am I fluent or do I think my French has really come along. I find it difficult to answer as I do not think I’m fluent and do not believe I will be until I have lived in France for many years yet do think my French is improving. For me the biggest thing is my confidence in speaking French, which has increased enormously over the last 3 months. I feel a lot more comfortable talking to French people even though I often still get confused and jumbled but most the time they are kind enough to allow me to keep trying. Sometimes though I won’t need to say much before they realise I’m English and as I live in Paris most people speak, at least to some degree, English and so reply to me in English which can be very frustrating and is probably the biggest drawback to living in Paris, as I’m not fully immersed in the language.
I talk the most French at school where I converse with all the teachers in French. I find that I’m able to just about keep up if I concentrate really hard when the teachers talk amongst themselves. Although this has led to some of them thinking I am upset or grumpy but I am in fact just concentrating on trying to understand them! They often use a lot of slang words, in-jokes and don’t always annunciate their words which is normal and I’m sure they would say the same about the way English people speak but means that I’m normally unable to join in their conversation. It is a lot easier when I talk to one of them alone as they will slow down their speech and are more aware of the words they use and if I don’t understand I can ask them to explain. I believe my vocab is broadening and I’m picking up colloquial words from the teachers and the children I teach. I also think that I’m becoming more aware of useful phrases and more importantly when to use them.
I hope that in the following 4 months my French will continue to improve and that in particular my vocab will keep expanding but at least I’m enjoying myself trying and gaining more than just a language but life experiences too.
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