reading/writing/speaking/listening
Thread poster: Nathan Pitman
Nathan Pitman
English
May 16, 2004

I like learning languages and I'm at high school. I do Latin and French. For French, I do reading, writing, speaking and listening. My problem is that I am very good at the first three skills in French, but not listening. When someone speaks in French, more often than not, I simply get words mixed up and fail to comprehend the words. I can't figure out what my problem with listening is. Maybe it is the fact that in French, the words are run together. I need help though.

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 02:45
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
concentrate on phonetics May 16, 2004

Mostly people have difficulties understanding speech, because they themselves do not pronounce the language as a native. Get hold of a native teacher and ask him to train your pronounciation.

[Edited at 2004-05-16 11:25]


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Abdellatif Bouhid  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:45
English to French
+ ...
The cure is more listening May 16, 2004

The more you listen, the more you will be able to detect words individually. If there is a French cultural club in you town, go there often and watch some films if available. Also, try to listen to French radios via the internet. Radio France International is one of the best. Radio Canada Français is another good one. You can find the links by asking Google.
Finally, if nothing and no one is objecting, have a native french girlfriend.

Bonne chance


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Visit French festivities May 16, 2004

The more drunken they are, the more clearly they talk

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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 18:45
German to English
Listening skills May 16, 2004

"Three people were on a train in England. As they approached what appeared to be Wemberly Station, one of the travelers said, "Is this Wemberly?" "No," replied a second passenger, "it's Thursday." Whereupon the third person remarked, "Oh, I am too, let's have a drink!"

Here's a site that offers listening skills practice.

http://french.about.com/library/listening/bl-listeningindex.htm

Good luck, Kim


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Robin Salmon  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 10:45
German to English
+ ...
Listening - practise and think positive May 16, 2004

I was a French teacher for a long time and the first thing that springs to mind is practice.
Getting to Tahiti or New Caledonia would help you, of course, but failing that, lessons on tape or CD would be a good start, as the speed would possibly be a bit slower and you would pick up confidence. Congratulate yourself when you start recognising words at first and you will find that, with practice, you will recognise more and more.

When your confidence builds up a bit, try Internet Radio. I use Real Player and this collection of French radio programmes. For us Antipodeans is a great way ofdefeating "the tyranny of distance":

http://radios.syxy.com

Try the News and Weather ("France Infos" is good) to start with as you will be familiar with some of the world news already, for example. "Europe 1" has interesting broadcasts, with more talk than music, which is what you need. Practice will lead to confidence and enjoyment.

All the Best

Robin


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:45
Another suggestion: first wine, then language May 16, 2004

Get hold of some music tapes or CDs in French, listen to the songs, and try to figure out the words...

I forgot to mention: of course, if you first drink a few glasses of french wine, you might find it easier to understand the language!

[Edited at 2004-05-16 23:41]


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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:45
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Like in the (French) movies... May 16, 2004

All the suggestions provided are great.
I too have worked as a French teacher and there's always the issue (for teachers) of how to expose students further to foreign cultures when they may not have much access to them - foreign friends, cultural centres, etc.
Listening to the radio (especially through the internet) is a fantastic idea; however, so is watching French films.
There are quite a few that have had international success (and appeal), such as Amelie. I remember, when doing my A levels, that watching French-language films was one of the best parts and really helped me to understand the culture better and improved my listening. If you have access to a DVD player, you can watch the film in English the first time around to pick up on words you don't understand and then you can perhaps watch it again with French subtitles (if you have the option) to see if you understand it better that way, especially if your reading skills are quite good. Of course, as others have said, one of the best ways of improving your listening is to increase your exposure to spoken French.
I hope that helps. Good luck!
Aisha

[Edited at 2004-05-16 17:27]


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 16:45
English to French
+ ...
Relax! May 16, 2004

I found that people have a hard time understanding when they try too hard. Why don't you start with toons like say, Inspecteur Gadget (no subtitles, though, some of my tutees put tape on their TV screen to hide them)? When you're comfortable with toons you can move on to movies. Remember, the operative word here is F-U-N!

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Robin Salmon  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 10:45
German to English
+ ...
What has language got to do with alcohol? May 17, 2004

Two of the respondents to the question seem to think it is funny to tell a school student that languages are best learned in an alcoholoc atmosphere. The people who have been killed by a drunk driver or stabbed to death by an alcohol-crazed criminal don't talk French or any other language.
I know my attitude to alcohol has been shaped by the fact that my father was an alcoholic but I think I have as much right to show my feelings on the subject as the two other people who have responded to your question.

[Edited at 2004-05-17 02:03]


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
It affects the complexity of language May 17, 2004

robtrans wrote:
What has language got to do with alcohol?
Two of the respondents to the question seem to think it is funny to tell a school student that languages are best learned in an alcoholoc atmosphere. The people who have been killed by a drunk driver or stabbed to death by an alcohol-crazed criminal don't talk French or any other language.
I know my attitude to alcohol has been shaped by the fact that my father was an alcoholic but I think I have as much right to show my feelings on the subject as the two other people who have responded to your question.
[Edited at 2004-05-17 02:03]


The student, of course, should stay (nearly) sober - because he needs all of his brain to talk in that language, and what's even worse: if he drinks too much he will forget most of what he learned - but nevertheless a beginner can profit of the fact that slightly drunken people tend to form simpler phrases.

And, by the way, I agree that alcohol is a dangerous drug, but as far as I know the accident and criminal rates in the countries where alcohol is illegal are not lower than ours.


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Nick Beqo
Local time: 16:45
Albanian to English
+ ...
Start with songs May 17, 2004

pmen wrote:

I like learning languages and I'm at high school. I do Latin and French. For French, I do reading, writing, speaking and listening. My problem is that I am very good at the first three skills in French, but not listening. When someone speaks in French, more often than not, I simply get words mixed up and fail to comprehend the words. I can't figure out what my problem with listening is. Maybe it is the fact that in French, the words are run together. I need help though.


Listening is hard in the native language too. Even though we have one tongue and two ears, most of us speak twice and listen once (maybe just to take a break and think what are we going to say next:)
I am an ESL teacher, and I think the problem is with the way a foregn language is taught. I would reverse the way you listed the activities: from reading/writing/speaking/listening into listening/speaking/writing/reading. Isn't it the way we learned our native language?
Anyway, this is just my opinion. To answer your question, I would suggest you start with learning songs as a good way of ear training.
Best of luck!


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Nathan Pitman
English
TOPIC STARTER
thanks May 17, 2004

Thanks to everyone for all of the advice.
I will try it.



Nick Beqo wrote:

pmen wrote:

I like learning languages and I'm at high school. I do Latin and French. For French, I do reading, writing, speaking and listening. My problem is that I am very good at the first three skills in French, but not listening. When someone speaks in French, more often than not, I simply get words mixed up and fail to comprehend the words. I can't figure out what my problem with listening is. Maybe it is the fact that in French, the words are run together. I need help though.


Listening is hard in the native language too. Even though we have one tongue and two ears, most of us speak twice and listen once (maybe just to take a break and think what are we going to say next:)
I am an ESL teacher, and I think the problem is with the way a foregn language is taught. I would reverse the way you listed the activities: from reading/writing/speaking/listening into listening/speaking/writing/reading. Isn't it the way we learned our native language?
Anyway, this is just my opinion. To answer your question, I would suggest you start with learning songs as a good way of ear training.
Best of luck!


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