December 31, 2013, by Guest blog

Novel ways of language acquisition

paris viewRoughly half way through my year abroad my language skills have no doubt improved. Rather nervous before setting off that I would not be able to understand any Parisians I am glad to say that I am able to understand people when they talk to me in the street or in lectures. However there is still some way to go yet. In reflection I think that I need to try to immerse myself more with native francophone groups and not just exchange students as they like myself are more prone to making mistakes with their grammar or speaking in a bizarre ‘non-French’ manner.

During my 2nd year at UoN I was unsure as to what I should do with my year abroad. All options seemed to have their pros and cons. My first choice was to find a job but being unable to find one was disheartening. By this stage too I had missed the deadline for applying for being a Language Assistant. So studying at a French university was my only option. Since arriving though I have started to think that being a university here in France has been massively beneficial to me. While in a job you could learn how to speak quicker and learn phrases that are more fashionable. However I think it would be necessary to have a relatively high understanding of grammatical French to such an extent that it would almost be second nature. I do not have that level of understanding and so could struggle in a job environment or the lingua franca could be English and so be of little use to my learning of French. Being a language  assistant seems to involve a minimal amount of work which would be good to travel around France but not great for learning the language. At university though I feel as though like a job I have French surrounding me all day long: it is spoken in lecture and all my work is in French. This means that I have to write, speak, talk and read French more than I think would have to otherwise which is ideal.


There are novel ways of learning though while being abroad- daily newspapers on the Metro, going to gigs and galleries, reading signs to offers in supermarkets – which I hadn’t even considered before arriving. Safe to say that it is much easier to learn a language in a country where it is spoken daily.

Posted in Language acquisition