Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dreaming of France -- Learning French

Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

I minored in French in college, so I have a basic grasp of French and I can make myself understood for most things. I have a harder time understanding what people say to me in return. And I still haven't figured out all of those "y" and "en" and "ce" and "ci" in the middle of a sentence.
With hopes of someday moving to France, I figured I'd better get serious about learning French better. That's why I downloaded Duolingo to my iPhone. It's also available on the computer. And it's free.

Before I started on duolingo, I had a chance to take a test to see how much French I already knew. Then it bumped me past those lessons. Believe me, there are still plenty of lessons to go.
The app shows the challenges I have completed in gold. Ones I'm working on are in color, and the future ones, ones I'm not ready for, are in a pale black and white.
I immediately recognized that the program uses a method similar to the Montessori three-part naming lesson. With the three-part naming lessons, new words or things are introduced, then the student is asked to pick out the word when they here it, then finally the students are shown the thing and asked to come up with the word on their own.
Duolingo mixes up the language lessons. Some of them are as simple as repeating a short sentence by pressing the microphone button.
Another lesson gives a sentence in French or English and asks you to translate it. Choose from a mix of words below. A touch of a finger to the word moves it up underneath the original sentence.

A more challenging lesson has the sentence in French or English and you have to type the words that translate it.

The hardest lesson for me is the one where duolingo says a sentence or phrase in French and I have to write it in French. There's a turtle button that repeats the phrase slowly, but it's still a challenge for me.

I had thought that I would be able to quickly master French and move on to Italian, but I was wrong. I still have so much to learn, and the program returns to some of the previous lessons, so I have to return to them and practice them.
 I have plenty of lesson left in adverbs alone. The program also gives lots of encouragement and reminders to get you working. Hopefully by the time I get to France, I'll be speaking French, and understanding it, better. 
Thanks for playing along today. I hope you'll visit each other's blogs too so you can enjoy other bits and pieces of France. 


Louise said...

You're the third person to recommend duo lingo to me in the past few weeks. It must be a sign! I had forgotten to look at it, but will check it out tonight. Thanks for the nudge- it looks great, and we can always practice more French.

Esme said...

I am going to try this. You can also do meet up groups on the web and Skype with a french person.

Paulita said...

Great suggestions, Esme.

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

Yes, meet up groups are fun. We have one here in Charleston.

Leovi said...

Duolingo wonderful and funny!

Sim Carter said...

That's an exciting discovery. FREE you say??? I'll check it out as well, thanks for sharing.
No movies en francais this week, hopefully I'll be able to play along next week.

Louise said...

I signed up last night. It is quite fun, but I'm always amazed at the sentences that language programmes teach you like "the horse is eating a sandwich".

Paulita said...

There are some ridiculous things, Louise, I agree. For instance, it uses J'aime and then offers the choice of like or love. Obviously, j'aime could be either of those, and if I guess wrong, it tells me I missed it. That is annoying. I hate getting things wrong.

vvb32 reads said...

Thanks for reviewing this app. It is certainly something to add into the mix of learning the language.

Tea said...

I will learn so much from this meme. I've never been to France. I would love to go.:) I am reading a book from NetGalley. It's sooooo good. France, The Soul of the Journey.

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