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Subject: Trouble "hearing " French
Date: Sunday, April 16, 2006
Name: Debra
Message: Hello, Maybe someone can give me a few pointers. I'm studying French with the series or Pimsleur cd's. I think it's an excellant method and feel that I'm learning a lot but I find I'm having trouble hearing the words at conversational speed. I realize that everyone learns at a different pace and I'm ok if I know the topic that is going to be discussed on the cd but unfortuantely that is not how things will go in "real" France.

I suppose my fear is that I'll be able to ask a question or say short simple phrases [so far] and not understand the answer. I loath constantly asking people to slow down as I assume that will wear a bit thin very quickly. I'm only on the second set of cd's and wonder when I'll be able to understand even a brief conversation without the deer in the headlights look that always accompanies it. I'm not at the point where I can listen to French radio. That only provokes more panic. Any suggestions or support would be very much appreciated!

Thanks, Debra

Replies Posted 9.

Name Debra
Message Hello Carole, I'm impressed with your 70-90%!! I wish that I had that much comprehension in French. Right now, I'm below 50%. I wish I had constant exposure to the language,re: living in France! I do work 3 different shifts as a nurse Carole and I'm presently working the night shift, sleeping during the day, and taking turns with my husband and other family members caring for an elderly family member. That is why right now I would find it very difficult to take you up on your very kind and generous offer . But I want to thank you for responding to my post and I wish you the best of luck .

Warm regards, Debra

Name Carole
Message Hi Debra, I'm a french journalist, and I'm planning to spend this summer in Brooklyn... I have the same problem than you : i can't understand when people talk to quick... i mean i get something like 70 to 90% of what they say, depending on their pronunciation ! So i really need to improve, too. if you would like to swap your english for my french, in phone conversations for example, i'll be glad. It could be early in the morning, if you're working... or at any time. I work by myself, i can manage it easily. Just let me know if you would be interested... Kindest regards, Carole

Name Debra
Message Thanks Joel!!! Much appreciated.


Name Joel

Name Debra
Message Hi Genevieve, Thanks so much for the french radio station and your suggestions. I think it's an excellant idea. I absolutely will take your advise! Your kind and encouraging words mean a lot!! Debra

Name Genevieve
Message I listen to French radio on the Internet at . Look for a section on the bottom right called "Langue francaise, apprendre et enseigner." It gives news reports in simple French and provides comprehension exercises.

One good way to tune the ear to French is by leaving the regular radio broadcast on as you move around home. You can learn a lot just by hearing the language as background noise. It's painless. You're learning by osmosis.

Also, it's good to remember that France is filled with immigrants and visitors making at least as many mistakes with the language as you are. Most native French are at least tolerant, occasionally very polite, and sometimes downright gentil about your language difficulties. Be brave! You'll do fine.

Name Debra
Message Hi Pat, Thank you so much for the Fluent French Audio URL. I am definately going to check it out. It might be too advanced now ,but if I listen to it over and over with the text I'll begin to perhaps recognise more words. I do the Pimsleur every single day, literaly-- sometimes two lessons a day when I'm on a roll!I still have the third set to by. At times if I don't think I am conjugating things quickly enough , I'll go back and repeat that lesson. Working on Passe compose [sorry- no accents!] No, we do not live in france at this time. We won't be there permanently for another 2 years unfortunately but do visit when we can. I try to use French , try to over come my embarressment--and I am sometimes answered in English. I know the French think they are helping me by doing this and the French sometimes like to practice their English on me as well! Sometimes I get nervous and toung-tied and just let them speak to me in English. But I know you're right-- once living there , there will so many opportunites to hear spoken French and to use it day in and day out, that it's bound to improve .Got to get over not wanting to make mistkes and of being so embarressed when I do. Guess a lot of us are in the same boat! Anyway, I truly do appreciate your comments and encouragement Pat! Thanks, Debra

Name Pat
Message Debra-- The correct URL for Fluent French Audio is this: c=ACCT127463&sc=1

(the whole thing is the address). Or you can just google: "Fluent French Audio."


P.S. If you subscribe to the newsletter, you will get samples. They are probably advanced for you at this point but if you subscribe and really work at it--go through the printed version, the fast and slow versions--you would probably improve incredibly. It's much more like real speech than Pimsleur.

Name Pat
Message Hi Debra--

Check out They have interviews (all in French of course) with different real people in France, and then they have the same thing slowed down and also with the texts in a PDF file. I think it's great. My French comprehension is already quite good, but this has improved it greatly.

I used Pimsleur to learn basic Spanish (took a couple of classes in night school here in California but didn't learn to speak from it). You have to do it every day--a lesson a day, I would say. Then when you reach the end of the 90 lessons, you need to go back to at least Part 2 and go through them again. Being in the country helps the most. Do you already live in France? You have to force yourself to speak to everybody, even if you know you're going to make mistakes--people are usually quite kind about it (they were in Mexico, but also in Provence when I was there as well).

Bonne chance!

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