Learn­ing a lan­guage through sto­ries makes for a much more en­gag­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, says Peter Stewart

France - - Language -

As the nights be­gin to draw in, there is noth­ing nicer than sit­ting in front of the fire­place with a good book. And if it is a French story, then that is even bet­ter! To­day, there are plenty of for­eign-lan­guage short-story books pop­ping up on the mar­ket, and they can be a re­fresh­ing al­ter­na­tive to the gram­mar-based method of learn­ing.

Any­one look­ing to learn French through a good story and sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease their vo­cab­u­lary will en­joy French Short Sto­ries for Begin­ners (Creates­pace In­de­pen­dent Pub­lish­ing Plat­form, £12.90). The book con­tains 15 fun and en­gag­ing French tales, all packed full of de­scrip­tion that will en­able begin­ners to ac­quire up to 1,500 new words. Each story has a glos­sary and comes with an au­dio down­load to help im­prove your pro­nun­ci­a­tion and lis­ten­ing skills.

Par­ents keen to en­cour­age their younger chil­dren to get to grips with French should seek out Daniel and the French Ro­bot (Creates­pace In­de­pen­dent Pub­lish­ing Plat­form, £5.49). The two sto­ries are de­signed to ap­peal to three-to-seven-year-olds and in­tro­duce them grad­u­ally to the lan­guage, with only a few French words in­tro­duced at a time.

Another handy re­source for young­sters is Clothes Vête­ments: Bilin­gual Chil­dren’s Pic­ture Dic­tio­nary (Creates­pace In­de­pen­dent Pub­lish­ing Plat­form, £7.67). This colour­ful 24-page guide will ex­pand learn­ers’ cloth­ing vo­cab­u­lary, with French trans­la­tions for ev­ery­thing from gloves to knee-length boots.

If de­vel­op­ing your vo­cab­u­lary to be able to dis­cuss top­i­cal is­sues in French is a pri­or­ity, In­sider’s French: In­ter­me­di­ate Con­ver­sa­tion Course (Michel Thomas, £39.99) will prove par­tic­u­larly use­ful. The course book fea­tures di­a­logues and role-plays fo­cus­ing on col­lo­quial French and con­tem­po­rary Fran­co­phone cul­ture. The course pack comes with an au­dio CD con­tain­ing com­pre­hen­sion ex­er­cises to im­prove your lis­ten­ing skills.

For a more light-hearted ap­proach to learn­ing French seek out a copy of the film Ros­alie Blum. This 2015 comedy-drama, star­ring Noémie Lvovksy, cen­tres on a ran­dom en­counter be­tween a male hair­dresser and a lonely woman that has un­ex­pected and life-chang­ing re­sults. The com­bi­na­tion of clear accents and slower-paced dia­logue will help begin­ners get a feel for the lan­guage.

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