zeldathemes
Real insight on French culture from a French native point of view.
Mostly run by Em, 26, living in Paris.
Welcome to AwesomeFrench !
Liberté, Egalité, Croque au Comté

Summer strategy to keep practicing French.

Finally, we’re all on vacation! Here we come endless nights spent watching movies, sleep in every morning and hardcore tabloids reading sessions on the beach! But… French classes are over and you don’t want to ruin your sexy feature over two months of doing nothing (don’t lie to me, we’ll all try to seduce our summer crushes with French stuff because that’s sexy as phoque) So, in order to preserve your sexiness, here’s my summer plan!

You need to do three things : listen & read & write, and you have one obligation : have fun! It’s pointless to do it if you’re not having fun doing it.


LISTEN

Movies : You finally have time to feed your inner movie-eater beast, take advantage of it! Two or three times a week, watch a French movie. And you can find French movies there. My favorite way to do so is downloading it directly (or buying DVDs works too > yay support French movie industry!) so you can also download subtitles > subtitles here. (Put both files in the same folder, name them the exact same way and start your movie file > the subtitles will show up automatically) (I wanna shop French DVDs, beware of DVDs zone, check if your player can read them before shopping ;) ) Movies are always a good tool to practice because unlike people speaking, you can pause, rewind and replay (If only we could do that irl though!) You don’t get a sentence, no prob, just replay it over and over again until it bleeds.

You’re afraid you won’t understand them? Do it step by step!
Level 1: You understand basic French : Watch Disney movies or action/horror movies! These movies rarely have complex conversations, and they have one massive advantage, you already know the story. Since you know what it’s about, you’ll understand anyhow what’s happening, even if you don’t get a few words. Another fun thing to do is watching your favorite movies of all times dubbed in French, not only you’ll laugh while hearing the weird voice what assures you a very funny moment, but since you know every word of it, it wort of works like a live dictionary.
Level 2 : You understand French quite well but you lack general vocabulary : Watch chickflicks, musicals, movies with a simple story. Since you’ll easily get the subject, it won’t be hard to guess what they’re talking about. Watch them two or three times until you really get what they say. My advice is to first watch them with English subtitles so you can link the French sound to the English translation. Then watch them with French subtitles, now you’re accustomed to the words, you can link the sounds to the actual words.
Level 3 : You understand French but slang always gets you : Watch comedies, thriller movies (like cop/jail/gansta movies in general), social movies (like indie movies about street life). All these themes include a LOT of slang/artistic grammar may I say, that you might not be aware of even though the subject of the movie can be quite easy to get.

(I’m working on a Movie masterpost, please like that post and check it out in a few days, I’ll add the list right here.)

Music : Imagine, you’re peacefully walking on the beach while humming a French melody, what a kickass way to hit on that girl/guy you saw near you! Don’t panic, here’s the Holy Grail : French music masterpost
Fill your ipod with some good jam. Listen to them while jogging, walking your dog, creeping around, whatever thing you like to do. Read the lyrics online and sing the songs until you get what they mean. Music is a great way to master pronunciation or rhythm, and it definitely is a “feel-good” exercice. Sing them in your shower, rock it like you’re Beyoncé, mate.

WRITE

You’re a hardcore French lover? Level up and translate those songs. No teacher needed to correct it, you can find translations online very easily, compare them and correct yourself. It’s one of the best excercice possible to learn French. No heavy books needed either if you have a smartphone, download a dictionary app on your phone to check vocabulary, Google Drive’s app to be able to write, and you’re in for an impromptu translation session on the beach!

Travelling? Write a travel diary! On paper, on tumblr, whatever fits your mood. Each day, write a post about what you did, what you ate, anecdotes, whatever. 15 minutes spent writting equal dozens words checked, dozen grammar rules practiced. Daily 15 minutes for two months represent almost 2 hours per week, so pretty much the same pace than an actual course!

Feeling like meeting people? Find a penpal to share your summer stories by sending postcards and letters : Penpals.You can submit your profile here :)

READ

The school year is over so give up all these boring and complex books, it’s time to have fun, it’s time to know who gets laid in our dear stardom. It’s time to read… French gossip. Ba-dum-tss.
A list of French magazines you can read/download/buy online :

  • Girly stuff : Biba, Jeune et Jolie, Grazia, Girls, Glamour
  • News and stars stuff : Closer, Public
  • Movies, Music: Première, Studio Ciné Live,  Les Inrocks
  • Science, world, student stuff : L’Etudiant, Phosphore, Géo, Science et Vie, Historia, Science et Avenir
  • News and politics stuff : Le Monde, Huffingtonpost.fr, Le Nouvel Obs, Marianne, Le Canard Enchainé, Le Figaro, Libération, Rue89

You’re more into books than magazines, but you’re afraid you won’t understand French books : Get a French version of your favorite books. Like the movies, if you know the story first it will be so much easier to understand it. Plus, if it’s your favorite book, it will be such a pleasure to read it again! Check on Google/Wikipedia your favorite book’s French title and then shop the French version online.

Feeling adventurous? Wanna read a real French book written by an aunthentic French author who probably drinks a lot of wine while writing by a fireplace? Go through the book reviews to find what to read.

You’re not an outside kind of person, you’d rather spend your summer creeping on tumblr? Join the fun and follow French tumblr blogs. I’m pretty sure a whole summer will not be enough to read it all! 
And most importantly, keep reading me! :D

Je vous souhaite un bel été les gens ! :)