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Off topic: Mastering languages
Thread poster: miss interpret
miss interpret
Local time: 08:19
Apr 16, 2006

I have just come onto this board as I am interested in foreign languages. I speak French and have lived in France more than once. This may be a really stupid question for you guys, but I cannot master the language! I have a respectable level but when people talk to me, I still miss stuff and when I speak, I still have to be careful what words and grammar structure to use. I have also started learning Dutch and aim to speak 5 languages, no less! Any tips on how to master the language other than going and living there?!

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xxxEmmanuelleAn  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:19
English to French
+ ...
Answer from a former a French teacher Apr 21, 2006

Apparently, you seem to be too focused on the grammar and words when you speak French. That is why you do not feel so comfortable and happy with your level of fluency. I used to teach French as a foreign language and often had to deal with that problem. If my advanced students focused too much on grammar and other stuff when they spoke, they would not improve as fast as others. Moroever I have 2 questions to ask you: Do you think first in your native language (English?) when you are speaking French?
How much time did you spend in France?
If you have further questions, do not hesitate to ask!

Bonne journée!

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xxxEmmanuelleAn  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:19
English to French
+ ...
Wait... Apr 21, 2006

miss interpret wrote:

Any tips on how to master the language other than going and living there?!

Sorry I forgot that part. The best way to learn a language is definitely to go and live for some time in the country where it is spoken.

I spent 4 years in England and Ireland to reach an acceptable level of fluency and become an interpreter with English as working and passive language.
I go back at least twice a year for regular "updates" on the language and to remain in touch with the culture.
And of course, I speak English almost everyday in France with my English speaking friends who live here.
Languages, It is an "état d'esprit". You cannot just learn them from the comfort of your home country!

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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:19
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
"Language Learning in the Real World for Non-beginners" Jun 28, 2006

I recommend the following articles by Greg Thomson for anyone wanting to learn a language, or interested in the subject of language learning.

"Language Learning in the Real World for Non-beginners" by Greg Thomson

"Leave Me Alone! Can't You See I'm Learning Your Language?" by Greg Thomson

"Kick-starting Your Language Learning"

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