In September 2011, when I arrived in Paris, trying to understand the news was a nightmare; it was just noise. A complicated noise, that no matter how hard I tried to understand, or how I tried to separate out single words, I couldn’t make sense of it.
Now relocated in Melbourne, I watched the French news on SBS, (shown every day at 10.30), and it was rewarding to see progress from one year ago. The efforts with French friends, reading newspapers or watching a movie, was all worthwhile. The pleasing moment where a long phrase on the TV makes sense, where you have satisfaction of understanding what is happening on the other side of the world, you can read into and appreciate another culture, and all in the comfort of your own living room. These feelings of reward make me want to understand even more.
I believe the best way to learn a language (and the most enjoyable), is to immerse yourself, by living in the country and appreciating the culture etc. This is not an option for everyone. Luckily, there are so many things we can tap into to help with languages. If you are studying French at school, or university or simply have a passion for picking this up, see below my shortlist of recommendations.
SBS – Daily French news program; French and world news with one special feature per episode normally, (shown at 10.30 Melbourne time).
SBS – Click here for the online radio exercepts
Library- Offer good services, ask for the international section, where you could find bi-lingual books
Movie/TV series – Select the French version with subtitles; this can be a pretty fun way to learn
Podcasts or YouTube videos- I came across Yabla offers videos of interest (travel, cuisine style) with the French and English transcript on the same page; I found this one particularly neat! See example video, skiing in the Alpes
Mango languages – online service for beginners, where you can learn about grammar and vo-cab in an interactive way, $79 per month
Newspapers and magazines-Check the international section of your newsagent
Join a meetup group in your chosen language
Or just organise a holiday to the country of choice for some inspiration or practice!