SAY WHAT YOU SEE
Combine words with images to make learning French more rewarding, says Peter Stewart
Browsing the local bookshop, I couldn’t help but notice the increasing range of resources designed for visual language learning. While some people might say that a grammar-based approach is the only way for them, I do believe that associating words with images does help us to retain the vocabulary needed to communicate with ease.
Anyone wishing to learn a range of everyday French terms will find the new Firefly French-english Bilingual Visual Dictionary (Firefly Books, £25) especially helpful. More than 5,000 words are introduced on different themes, which include the home, leisure, pets, work and sports, and come with full-colour photographs and artwork. Every item is clearly labelled in French with the English translation underneath.
Parents looking to teach their children French should seek out Caillou, My First French Word Book (Caillou, £6.99), featuring the adventures of the title character, a four-year-old boy. The board book contains more than 200 everyday words on topics such as animals, household objects and family members, and are all brought to life by colourful illustrations. Another useful guide for tiny tots is Un, Deux, Trois: First French Rhymes (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, £7.99). This book and CD pack brings together 25 illustrated nursery rhymes featuring simple words and phrases that younger children are encouraged to repeat and sing along with.
For anyone looking to improve their French for an imminent trip across the Channel, then the French Visual Phrase Book (Dorling Kindersley, £7.99) should do the trick. This handy guide covers many real-life situations and features galleries of words and pictures that make it easy to find key vocabulary and to remember what you have seen. The accompanying 60-minute CD contains an easy-to-use pronunciation guide.
For a more unusual take on language learning, seek out a copy of the 2012 comedy-drama Du Vent Dans Mes Mollets. The film centres on an eccentric family whose nine-year-old daughter becomes friends with an unruly girl of her own age. The fun part will be trying to master the colloquial language used in day-to-day situations.