GIVE IT A GO

Learn­ing an­other lan­guage leads to plenty of ben­e­fits for the young and old, says Peter Ste­wart

France - - Language -

One of the ad­van­tages of tak­ing up a new lan­guage is that it en­hances your cognitive skills. Tes­ta­ment to this is a man in his late 70s whom I met at my lo­cal book­shop. He told me that since start­ing to study French for just 15 min­utes a day a cou­ple of years ago, he had seen an im­prove­ment in his mem­ory and at­ten­tion span.

Any­one whose progress is be­ing ham­pered by a bad mem­ory will get plenty of use­ful tips in Un­for­get­table French: Mem­ory Tricks to Help You Learn and Re­mem­ber French Gram­mar and Vo­cab­u­lary (Bril­liant Pub­li­ca­tions, £19.99). This vis­ual book uses sound and word as­so­ci­a­tions to en­able you to ab­sorb es­sen­tial phrases and gram­mat­i­cal points. There are also ex­er­cises to help you track your progress.

To gain greater in­sight into French cul­ture, click on to read­france.com, a Us-based on­line book­store. The se­lec­tion of English and French-lan­guage books is grouped ac­cord­ing to re­gions and in­cludes con­tem­po­rary adult fic­tion, mem­oirs, his­to­ries and chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture, as well as con­ven­tional tour guides.

If learn­ing key verbs quickly is of ap­peal, try French: Fast Track Learn­ing From Phrasal Verbs (Creates­pace In­de­pen­dent Pub­lish­ing Plat­form, £6.99). This handy guide will teach you the French equiv­a­lents of 100 com­monly used English phrases com­bin­ing a verb with an­other gram­mat­i­cal el­e­ment, for ex­am­ple ‘break down’ or ‘see to’. More than 600 ex­am­ples pro­vide plenty of op­por­tu­nity to prac­tise what you have learnt.

A great way to get chil­dren in­ter­ested in learn­ing the lan­guage is by play­ing a game. Snap in French (Us­borne Pub­lish­ing Plat­form, £4.99) con­tains colour­ful cards fea­tur­ing words for ev­ery­day ob­jects such as fruit, pets and house­hold ob­jects.

If you pre­fer to study French through film, pick up a copy of 8 Femmes, a 2002 mur­der mys­tery with a darkly comic tone, star­ring Cather­ine Deneuve. The story of eight women who are ques­tioned fol­low­ing the mur­der of a man in a snow­bound manor house has hu­mor­ous, fast-paced di­a­logue that will be sure to im­prove your flu­ency.

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