So, we wish to learn conversational French. Sufficient not simply to order two beers and a plates of frîtes then ask for directions to the toilet, but enough to sit at a bar and have a simple conversation with the Patron, for instance.
Classes not being available to us we are looking to on-line courses but I believe that we shall need to supplement with some immersion techniques. I have established that there is at least one fluent speaker of French on the island and later on I hope to be able to set up some conversation sessions to brush up on pronunciation and conventions etc. but think we must be able to do some things to help ourselves.
So far I have come up with playing Scrabble en français to assist our assimilation of vocabulary and watching French films sans sous-titres. Reading seems an obvious way to assimilate a language but what to read? My French sight reading is at about the level of a five year old but I really do not want to be reading “Voir le chien courir”. I need simple books but with suitable language content for an adult beginner. Anybody have ideas or suggestions?
In the Live and Learn department, I have grown today. Did you know that “Parlez-vous Français ?” is incorrect and that it should be a small f on français ? I did not, but I do now.
The French word français has three English equivalents: French (the language), French (the adjective), and French (the person). As you can see, all three are capitalized in English. In French, however, français is only capitalized when it is used as a noun referring to a person: Les Français aiment le vin (The French like wine). When français is used as an adjective or the language, it cannot be capitalized: J’aime le vin français (I like French wine). Therefore, parlez-vous Français ? is incorrect – you have to write parlez-vous français ? Many beginning French students make this mistake, as do many Francophones who speak English well – they start capitalizing français, anglais, espagnol, etc, whether it’s a noun, adjective, or language, because nationalities and languages are always capitalized in English.