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New Year, New Language Studies

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French dictionaryI’ve never been one for New Year’s Eve celebrations. I’ve also never been one for New Year’s resolutions. However, this year I’ve decided to set my cynicism aside and actually make one. It’s a little late, I know, but here it is:

I resolve to get better at French in 2020.

Of course, I have no expectation that I’ll be speaking the language fluently any time soon, if ever.

I can, though, look to improve my listening, reading and writing skills as well as my spoken French. I can take easy, practical steps over the coming months to get better. This blog post is my promise to myself that I will set out and complete this journey. 

I’ve always felt the relative weakness of my language education and have regretted not developing my skills further. I took A-level French at school and got a C. This grade was a reflection more of my level of effort than ability. I simply didn’t do the same amount of work as I did for my other subjects.

I have nevertheless been very grateful for my limited language study. Unsurprisingly, it helped me greatly when I was writing my book on Marcel Proust. It also came in handy recently whilst writing my work on the Romantic pianists Liszt, Chopin and Mendelssohn.

I’ve decided that it’s now time to make up for my teenage apathy and take practical steps towards improving my French. Sadly, I can’t afford private tuition. There are, though, lots of online resources out there that I can use to help me improve and which, most importantly, I can build into my week.

I’m going to begin by listening to various language learning podcasts like Coffee Break French and One Thing in a French Day. I also intend to listen to News in Slow French. These will all be perfect to listen to when I’m out walking. They’ll also mean that I’ll be getting refreshers in all the core basics whilst at the same time becoming more familiar with the rhythms of normal spoken French. Additionally, I’m planning on making use of various YouTube channels like Learn French with Alexa.

Of course, it’s always easier to stick to a new resolution when you combine the activity with something you already enjoy. With this in mind, I’m going to use my existing hobbies as a way of getting in more French practice. I’m going to watch videos about board games, Dungeons and Dragons and other fun, nerdy things in French as well as English. I’ll also watch French language Twitch streams.

I’m excited to be starting the new year with a new purpose and am looking forward to making progress in the coming weeks and months. The fact that I’ll be combining my learning with my existing interests is also going to be fun.

I’ll be posting updates on my progress on social media - you can follow me on Twitter here. I'll also recap my journey in a future blog post. Wish me luck!

  • Have you learnt a language since leaving school?
  • Can you recommend any language learning resources?

Please do let me know via social media.

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