Category Archives: french

Writing French soap operas

So, just as I was about ready to give up, tonight’s French class was lots of fun. We did lots of talking, and we even got to write a little story: the text in the book was a one-sided phone conversation which Cedric was having with Nathalie.

We couldn’t hear Nathalie’s part, so we got to fill it in. Here’s what my partner and I came up with…

Cédric : Allô !

Nathalie : Allô Cedric ! C’est moi !

Cédric : Qui ?

Nathalie : C’est Nathalie !

Cédric : Nathalie ! Je rêve ou quoi !

Nathalie : Non, tu ne rêves pas. J’y suis.

Cédric : Ça fait combien de temps qu’on ne s’est pas vus ?

Nathalie : Environs 3 ans?

Cédric : C’est ça, trois ans.

Nathalie : C’est encore le même. C’est le portable de SPEN n’est-ce pas ?

Cédric : Oui, je travaille toujours á la SPEN

Nathalie : Tu cherches une autre travail ? (Note, this is wrong : should be Tu aimes ton travail ? or similar)

Cédric : Non, j’en ai assez.

Nathalie : Et l’entreprise, il ne va pas bien ?

Cédric : Si, l’entreprise marche bien. On est satisfait.

Nathalie : Mais tu n’est pas heureux…

Cédric : Je suis déçu par mes collègues. Et toi, comment ça va avec Michel ?

Nathalie : Nous nous sommes mariés, mais il y a 2 ans il est mort.

Cédric : Ah, dommage, il était sympa Michel.

Nathalie : Il a était une accident à la piscine à sa maison de vacance.

Cédric : Alors tant pis pour lui et tant mieux pour le suivant.

Nathalie : Et toi ? Est-ce que tu veux succéder à lui ?

Cédric : Oui, pourquoi pas ?

Nathalie : Tu est occupée le week-end prochain ?

Cédric : Non, le week-end prochain, j’ai quatre jours de congé et je n’ai rien prévu.

Nathalie : J’ai une maison à la campaigne. Je l’ai hérité de Michel.

Cédric : Elle est où cette maison ?

Nathalie : C’est le château de Reims, en Champagne.

Cédric : Formidable !

Nathalie : Il n’y a pas beaucoup de choses à faire, là.

Cédric : Non, ça ne fait rien. On pourra se raconter nos souvenirs.

Nathalie : Je t’attends avec impatience.

Cédric : D’accord, ça me fera plaisir de te revoir.

Nathalie : À le week-end prochain, chér Cédric.


Posted by on March 23, 2009 in french, funnies


Language learning resources

The offerings from Linguality look amazing.

Too bad it costs nearly $300 for 6 books. Not something I will be doing in a hurry.


Posted by on January 29, 2009 in french, languages


French French French

Funny moment at French class tonight. The textbook had a section on the film Le Goût des autres, which my lovely teacher recommends. Literally translated, it means, “The taste of others.”

I started snickering, as did one of the other class members.

Turns out, the title means taste in the highbrow sense.

This is not a film about licking strangers.


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Posted by on July 31, 2008 in french


Odd sort of productivity, but I like it.

In the last 24 hours, I have

  • Rated and commented on 2 games that I either had not played or had forgotten to rate.
  • Chatted with three … four … several (I think four) friends.
  • Exchanged a flurry of international SMS messages. OK, it was a small flurry, but that is always fun.
  • Kept food down!! Yay, me!!
  • Got Otto back to sleep quickly and painfully.
  • Played a game. Well, most of a game.
  • Named my IUD and discovered the new and exciting world of innuendo that is to be explored when you combine ABBA and this particular kind of birth control, especially when a friend joins in as well. Errm, joins in the game. Of making up slightly smutty comments. That’s all.
  • Given – and received – some much-needed comfort.
  • Spoiled myself by buying 2 new books – one is french grammar exercises and therefore relatively uninteresting to the rest of you; the other is an amazing semi-autobiographical story that is at once tragic, moving and wryly funny. More on this later when I have finished it.
  • Successfully resisted (once) the urge to just say yes when a client wanted more hours out of me than are humanly possible.
  • Cleared some more space in the study (I know I should not be doing this) by replacing the huge old monitor that died last night with a slender and sexy little LCD screen.
  • Contemplated more major house re-organisation (OMG! Ce n’est pas possible !)
  • MAYBE solved my mental problems with French possessive pronouns (OK that was about 30 hours ago).
  • Oh yeah – and done probably 3 days’ work. All billable, I think. *YAY*.

Posted by on May 23, 2008 in be happy, french, friends, games, health, to-do, work


French class

I went to French class tonight. Which was almost certainly incredibly dumb, because I feel like something has chewed me up and spat me out, then run me over and squashed me.

I am not sure whether it is me or the panadeine (paracetamol & codeine) so tomorrow I will try to go painkiller-free or at least scale down to normal paracetamol.

Anyway. Feeling craptastic & oddly weepy. Nearly started bawling in the middle of French class, for absolutely no reason.

But it was also good to go, because I do not like to feel that I am missing out on things. And tonight we did a lot of grammar:

  • reflexive verbs
  • imperatives
  • imperative reflexive verbs
  • mandatory (‘il faut’)
  • mandatory nots (‘il ne faut pas’)

We also did talking about our day. Here is what I wrote (with errors still, I am sure – sigh)

D’habitude au jours de la semaine, je me lève à 7h30.

Je prends une douche et je m’habille. Je lis mes mails.

À 7h50, je réveille mes enfants.

Elles s’habillent et prenens leur petit déjeuner.

À neuf heurs moins quart, nous partons à l’école.

Ensuite je rentre à la maison et je prends le petit déjeuner.

Je travaille chez mois mais parfois je vais en tram au bureau.

Je prends le déjeuner vers 13h.

À 15h30, il faut chercher mes enfants et nous revenons à la maison.

Nous jouons et les enfants regardent la télé.

Je cuisine et nous mangeons vers 18h30, si mon mari est arrivée.

À 7h30, mes enfants vont se coucher. Ma petite fille n’aime pas dormir, donc je dois rester avec elle vers une où deux heures. C’est fou.

Ensuite, je chat avec mes amis et je travaille deux heures. Je me couche à 1h, et je m’endors tout de suite. Je suis très, très épuisée.

I know there are errors, but I am reasonably pleased that I have learned that much already this year.

And now? bedtime. Even though it is not 1h. I am feeling pretty nauseous. 😦


Posted by on May 14, 2008 in french, health


French class

I realise I have not written much about this recently.

Last term, I realised that I had fallen into high school habits of not volunteering answers and pretending to be more uncertain than I was (at times, when I was confident of the answer). This is dumb for many reasons, so I gave myself a mental slap. I still tended not to volunteer answers, at least without waiting to see if anyone else knew the answer, but I stopped playing dumb and I asked for details if I had a different answer than the one that was offered. Amazing how bad learning behaviours can stick with you even *mumble* years later.

This term (which started last week), I am doing an “intensive” level 3-4 class. That means 3 hours every Wednesday night, plus attached homework. Instead of a class of 7, I am in a class of 4, which is the perfect number – classes of 3 are cut back to 8 weeks instead of 10. Everyone is a motivated learner, which should be good.

I am a little concerned about the speed of the class, though. The other people in the class all did Intensive level 1-2 classes last term, and only got part way into level 2, which technically goes to the end of chapter 3 of our books. The class has to start at the start of chapter 4, so they have missed half to two thirds of chapter 2. This doesn’t really affect me, because the lovely Herve got us through to the end of chapter 3, but I wonder whether we will have the same effect with this class. I’d hate to miss a chunk of the book because the class didn’t move fast enough – will monitor carefully. We seemed to not *quite* get through everything last week, but we spent a lot of time introducing ourselves so I’m not too worried. The homework is easy but I have a bucketload of vocab to learn – we learned about giving directions, which is pretty important for communication. And I still make dumb mistakes when I try to talk as opposed to just fill in the gaps in mes devoirs. Biggie and I have now scheduled some joint homework time each week – let’s see if that helps.

Speaking of introducing ourselves, we all fell back into high school patterns there too: Je m’appelle Melissa. J’ai trente-et-huit ans. J’habite au Melbourne. The age thing makes me giggle because how often do we introduce ourselves that way at a party? Hi, I’m Melissa, I’m 38.

Anyway, cautious optimism on the class. I probably need to take a snack to keep me going for 3 hours at a stretch. And I will miss part of it this week because of a Mothers’ day celebration at Guides.

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Posted by on May 4, 2008 in french


En français, s’il te plaît

There’s only two more weeks left of the first term of my French classes, so I have a decision to make. Do I continue on with the (very friendly) group I am with, doing French 3 next term, or do I make the jump to a different teacher and Intensive French 3 and 4 next term?

My inclination is to jump. If I do, I can do French 5 and 6 the following term and actually maybe be able to speak with some hint of competence when I am there in October. It’s much more full-on, with classes lasting twice as long and (probably) twice the homework/revision, but possibly will be more rewarding too.

If I jump and can’t keep up because work gets busy or whatever, I can drop back to French 3 or just do French 5 the following term. If I stick with French 3 next term, I am stuck doing only French 4 the following term as they don’t have a 4-5 grouping.

It all sounds much more complicated than it really is.

Meanwhile, though I learned something interesting chatting with my teacher. He reckons that French 5-6 gets you up to “Year 12 standard”. That is when kids have typically learned a language for 6 years.

So in 3 terms of adult ed (6×15 hours of instruction) we are reaching a level that takes school students 6 years to achieve.

This rings true for me on many many levels, with the sole possible exception of practice time. I will need to be more disciplined about revising between classes if I want to stay on top of things in a more intensive class.

Not sure what I will do about a class in Term IV this year. Term IV starts October 6th, so I would miss the first  4 weeks of class … on the other hand, if I don’t enrol in something then I will miss a full term. There’s time to decide that later, though 🙂


Posted by on April 2, 2008 in french


en français

I had my first French class tonight.

Much goodness. For starters, even at my very slow walking speed (I blame short legs … nothing to do with laziness …) it’s a comfortable 20-25 minute walk from home. With time, it should be more like 20 minutes, especially if I do not stop for chocolate. I got a lift home with the friend who’s taking the class with me, but I will aim to walk it next week if the weather is good.

It’s a small group (7 of us) with the usual range of ability. To my delight (and surprise) I am closer to the top than to the bottom of the class. Having read over the textbook, I was ok with understanding written words and with saying them. The hardest part was hearing spoken French.

The highlight of the evening was learning to say J’aime faire du lèche vitrine – which translates, literally, as I like to lick shop windows. There is of course another meaning, but we will not worry about that so much even though it has the Power of Usage. The Power of Funny wins. My friend Ann suggested that this could be a useful phrase to know when the police arrest me. And Fraser said he will not kiss me again until I disinfect my tongue.

That may have been Too Much Information.

My textbook is pretty amazing too. It’s full of little jokes, interesting asides and a 3-way love triangle. Also, at the foot of each page next to the page number is the text of the number – so it says “28 vingt huit” instead of just “28”.

I did, however, manage to say that I like toys when I meant I like games. jeu = game. jouet = toy. jouer = to play.  Between that and the window licking, it could have been a very interesting evening.

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Posted by on February 5, 2008 in french, languages