We find the best resources for brushing up your language skills.
Aconversation about languages that I had with two teenagers gave me cause for concern. They told me that “learning French was pointless”, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. While English is considered the language of business, learning a foreign language will open your mind to a new world of opportunities.
Anyone wishing to understand and take part in everyday French conversations should get a copy of French Slang: Do you speak the real French? (Createspace Independent Publishing, £6.90). The book features around 600 colloquial phrases, split into 12 topics, and has a useful warning symbol against some words to prevent you from unwittingly offending people!
A couple of apps will also help you to improve your conversational skills. The Rosetta Stone: Learn Languages app (rosettastone.com) is based on the full
immersion method and comes with interactive word games that will expand your vocabulary for everything from socialising with friends to holidays. French Language Guide & Audio from World Nomads (journals.worldnomads.com) includes a conversation lesson with a native speaker and contains 150 travel phrases. Both apps are free to download in their basic form from the App Store.
If your young ones are starting to express an interest in French, they will enjoy Am I small? Je suis petite, moi? (Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, £4.99). Told from the perspective of magical creatures, the story is full of simple French words, and reinforces learning through repetitions.
For a little light relief, seek out a DVD of the film OSS 117: Le Caire, Nid d’espions. This James Bond spoof stars Jean Dujardin in his pre- Artist days, and will have you learning and laughing simultaneously with its hilarious stunts and fast-paced dialogue.