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French in Normandy

New from French in Normandy: DELF DALF Online

French in Normandy: a pioneer in DELF DALF online flexible learning
Need to improve your DELF DALF skills but don’t have the time or the budget to spend 3 months in France ?
With French in Normandy you can study for the DELF DALF whenever and wherever you choose.
With French in Normandy Online you can get where you want to be.

Our Delf and Dalf online preparation courses focuses on Levels B2, (DELF) C1 and C2 (DALF) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Course Content

Your course will be designed based on the results from your placement test and needs analysis. You will cover all four skills and work on exercises designed to meet the requirements of the Diplomas

Topics covered in this course include:

  • Reading and Use of French
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking

How does it work?

Step 1 Fill in the French in Normandy online registration form giving us your availabilities for your flexible learning programme and the date you wish to start

Step 2 Organise your oral test by skype, hangouts, messenger, telephone

Step 3 We will then send you your planning for Week I which will include:

  • WRITTEN EXPRESSION
  • READING COMPREHENSION
  • LISTENING COMPREHENSION
  • A ONE HOUR PRACTICE SESSION FOR THE ORAL EST WITH THIRTY MINUTE ONE TO ONE ORAL
  • A THIRTY MINUTE FEEDBACK SESSION AT THE END OF EVERY WEEK

 

Questions? Download our DELF DALF Online flyer for more details

All Inclusive Pricing Structure

  PREPARATION ONLINE PRICE IMMERSION / WEEK MATERIAL /BOOKING REGISTRATION FEES
Package 1 4 WEEKS 850 EUROS 330 260 EUROS 60 EUROS
Package 2 6 WEEKS 1150 EUROS 330 260 EUROS 60 EUROS
Package 3 8 WEEKS 1300 EUROS 319 260 EUROS 60 EUROS
Package 4 10 WEEKS 1600 EUROS 319 120 EUROS 60 EUROS
Each package includes a telephone test before hand, the materiel required online and in class, the exam fees and all fees relating to the booking of the exam, material and registration.

Dates for the DELF DALF Exam in Rouen

The Exams are taken in our partner centre in Rouen town centre: 13 Boulevard de Verdun, Rouen;

Opening registration: B2, C1/C2

Contact us for exam dates.

Eating Out in French : French restaurant vocabulary

Wherever you are in France, having a meal in a typical French restaurant is a must. Food is an important part of the French culture and being able to experience it will make your trip more complete. In today’s article we are going to identify some of the most common French restaurant vocabulary and expressions that will be useful to you.

Types of eating/drinking places:

Le restaurant Where you go for a big French meal (un grand repas français)
Le bistro(t) Smaller, more casual restaurants
La brasserie A brewery: offers good beer and hearty food.
Le café Here you will find everything: complete meals, snacks and drinks
La crêperie Sells savoury galettes and sweet crêpes
Le bar Here you can have a drink without eating anything
Le bar à vin Wine bar

 

Saying how many people you are:

On est trois (informal) / Nous sommes trois (more formal) – We are three

 

Saying whether you want to eat or drink:

Pour manger To eat
Pour boire To drink
Pour le petit-déjeuner To have breakfast
Pour déjeuner For lunch
Pour dîner For dinner

 

Saying where you prefer to sit:

Je préfère l’extérieur – I prefer the outside.

Je préfère l’intérieur – I prefer the inside.

 

Types of Menus:

La carte The menu
Le menu Set menu
L’ardoise The boards where the specials are written. They’re usually at the entrance of a restaurant or hanging on a wall
La carte des vins Wine menu
Une dégustation / Menu dégustation Tasting menu
à la carte Items that you order off the menu; these would have their own price
Plats du jour Daily special
Assiette Platter

Categories in a la carte menu:

Les entrées Appetizers
Un amuse-bouche/amuse-gueule Small snack
Un apéritif A cocktail / pre-dinner drink
Les plats Main courses
Accompagnement Side dish
Les fromages Cheeses
Les desserts Desserts
Les boissons Drinks
Le café Coffee
Un digestif After-dinner drink

 

Ordering food:

Avez-vous choisi? / Vous avez choisi? Have you chosen?
Qu’est-ce que vous voulez comme boisson? What would you like to drink?
Qu’est-ce que vous buvez? What will you have to drink?
Je vais prendre… I’m going to take…

 

Ending your meal:

Terminé? / Vous avez terminé? / Avez-vous terminé? Have you finished?
Oui, merci Yes, thanks
Ça a été? / Ça vous a plu? Did you enjoy your meal?
Oui, c’était bon / Oui, c’était vraiment délicieux Yes, it was good / Yes, it was delicious
Vous désirez un dessert ou un café? Would you like dessert or coffee?
Je voudrais la carte des desserts, s’il vous plaît I would like the dessert menu, please
Rien pour moi Nothing for me
S’il vous plaît This expression is used to grab the waiter’s attention. Once you have his/her attention all you need to say is l’addition (the bill)

 

We hope this French restaurant vocabulary will help you to enjoy your meals in France as much as we do!


If you’re considering studying French in France, let us know and we’ll be happy to help you!

Restaurants in Rouen

Best Student Restaurants in Rouen

Having a huge variety of places where to eat is great. However, it can also be confusing as the options are vast and can be very different from one another. Therefore, to help make your stay in Rouen a little bit easier, we have singled out 6 restaurants in Rouen which are usually popular amongst students:

Restaurants in Rouen
  1. Café Dessiné: Found in the historic centre and within the famous rue Damiette, the Café Dessiné is a café and tea room where a large collection of comics is available for viewing free of charge. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, you will definitely find something delicious to have for breakfast, brunch or even a late lunch or early dinner.
  2. Le Mont Saint-Michel: A traditional creperie which will surely give you a taste of the French cuisine. Various types of pancakes are available in this restaurant and you can visit it from Monday to Saturday. Make sure you check the opening hours before you go.
  3. L’Oritano: Whether you’re an Italian who is visiting France and wants a taste of home or coming from any other country and would like some typical Italian food, this restaurant may be the right spot in Rouen. All the dishes are homemade, even the mozzarella and the menu changes regularly. Students can either go for lunch or in the evening to taste the antipasti during Aperitivo time.
  4. Nachos Mexican Grill: More from the international cuisine that one can find in Rouen, this restaurant offers a large choice of fajitas, tacos and salad. All food is freshly made right in front of the customer as this aspect is very important to the restaurant owners. Here you can have healthy meals at reasonable prices and the restaurant is open every day from late morning till the evening.
  5. The Novick’s Stadium: The Novick’s Stadium is a concept sports bar that gives guests the possibility to experience sports from all around the world. This place is also the spot that brings together players and supporters of sports in Rouen. This restaurant is modern and hip, and it is a great spot to meet people, watch sports and relax.
  6. La Fabrik: Directly on the quay near the Seine, this restaurant offers quality meat as well as other dishes and tapas. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and you can go for lunch or dinner all week, whereas Sundays it is open for brunch.

If you are looking for other types of restaurants or even different cuisines, here at French in Normandy, we are always happy to give you suggestions on our personal favourites. So, contact us or speak to one of our staff members when you arrive at the school, and we’ll be happy to give you directions to get to the restaurants mentioned above, as well.

Le français- cette langue qui nous réunit

French in Normandy sponsors 4th annual Congress for French teachers across the Arab World (CMA) in Agadir, Morocco

This regional congress of the FIPF (International Federation of French Language Teachers) brings together teachers from North Africa and the Middle East but of course is open to teachers of French worldwide. The opening speeches and the fascinating paper presented by Jean Louis Calvet all gave different perspectives on the role and importance of the French language.

 


French is the official language of 36 countries with over 64 million French speakers second only to English which is the official language of 63 nations worldwide.

The statistics presented by J.L. Calvet on the different languages across the globe left us in no doubt as to the importance of the French language, not just today but also in tomorrow’s world as well as underlining the necessity for people to be able to speak more than one language.

The role of the teacher and their importance is at the heart of President Macron’s project for the promotion of the French language and France. The French language is a motor for a real plurilingualism which will facilitate integration, further study and open doors for millions of young people around the world.

French is the second most taught and used language in international universities (74% compared to 97% for English) and the excellence of French higher education is well known globally.

French in Normandy has several partners for further study in France encouraging students to come to Rouen to learn or perfect their level of French before starting on a course of higher education with local engineering schools such as the ECSI, INSA or ESIGELEC. We also provide an option for vocational excellence with the INBP (Institut Français de la Boulangerie et de la Pâtisserie), not forgetting the local university and business schools.

Learning to speak French changed the life of French in Normandy Director, Eleri Maitland, and so by definition changed the life of  her husband and children’s experience. Speaking another language has given her an inestimable chance and has opened so many windows to the world. Passing those same opportunities onto young people, whatever their nationality or age, and transmitting the pleasure of a multilingual and multicultural life is French in Normandy’s ultimate goal.

French in Normandy is a convinced that learning languages is the way to bring peoples together, a force for tolerance and respect and a solid building block in the construction of a better, more equitable world.

Le français c’est une chance……

French Vocabulary Illnesses and Ailments

French Vocabulary for Illnesses and Ailments

Learn how to talk about illnesses in French and prepare for a doctor’s visit in France.

French Vocabulary Illnesses and AilmentsGetting sick is never fun, but being in a foreign country and not being able to communicate when you need medical help can definitely ruin your stay abroad. These resources will help you learn some important French vocabulary for illnesses and ailments so that you can communicate with French-speaking doctors, dentists, nurses, and pharmacists.

This blog post including sound bites will teach you the simple words and phrases along with the pronunciation you will need when asking for medical help.

Some basic French vocabulary to keep in mind can be seen below. 

health
la santé

good health
en bonne santé

bad health
en mauvaise santé

an infection
une infection

a chill
un frisson

the flu
la grippe

a cold
un rhume

a throat infection
une angine

a sinus infection
une sinusite aiguë

an allergy
une allergie

a handkerchief
un mouchoir

a kleenex
un kleenex

to feel well
se sentir bien

to have a cold
être enrhumé

to cough
tousser

to sneeze
éternuer

to have a head ache
avoir mal à la tête

to have an ear ache
avoir mal aux oreilles

to have a stomach ache
avoir mal au ventre

to have a throat ache
avoir mal à la gorge

to have a fever
avoir de la fièvre

a runny nose
le nez qui coule

itchy eyes
les yeux qui piquent

to have a scratchy throat
la gorge qui gratte

sick
malade

viral
viral

bacterial
bactérien

allergic
allergique

le médecin
the doctor

the patient
le malade

a diagnosis
un diagnostic

a prescription
une ordonnance

to suffer
souffrir

to open
ouvrir

to examine
examiner

to listen to the stethoscope
ausculter

to breath
respirer

to prescribe
prescrire

a pharmacist
un pharmacien

a pharmacy
une pharmacie

a medicine
un medicament

a pill
un comprimé

a antibiotic
un antibiotique

a syrup
un sirop

penicillin
de la pénicilline

aspirin
de l’aspirine

to swallow
avaler


Watch the video below to understand what a doctor’s visit is like in France and what you may be asked if you need to go to the doctor in France.

 

Some questions include:

1: Quel est votre problème?

2: C’est la 1ère fois que ça vous arrive?

3: Avez-vous eu un traitement?

4: Vous ne prenez pas d’aspirine?

5: un traitement local pendant 3 ou 4 jours.

6: la ordonnance (the prescription for the medicine you must get)

7: la feuille de soins (paper for your insurance)

8: la consultation est à 8 euros

9: vous pouvez régler par carte ou en liquide


French Vocabulary Illnesses and Ailments


Learn more French with a French language course at French in Normandy!

learn french quickly

How to learn French quickly and with ease

Everything you need to know to learn French quickly and efficiently


Would you like to speak French fluently ? Do you feel ready to start learning the language of Moliere? I am sure you are ! But maybe you are not sure about how to go about it… No panic ! In this article I am going to give you some tips and explain step by step how to learn French quickly and with ease.

learn french quickly


To learn a foreign language, there are mainly two possibilities :

  • Studying by yourself, with a private teacher if possible.
  • Going to the country where the language is spoken and preferably taking courses in an accredited school.

Of course you can do both ! For example you could add one or two weeks of French courses in France to your personal training. In any case, to learn a foreign language efficiently, be prepared to be consistent with regular learning sessions. There are some habits you will need to acquire.

Habits you need to get into :

  • Be disciplined, probably the most important one, it could be difficult to master in the long term but if you want to progress, you have no choice ! Certainly you are motivated to learn French right now, but like sporting activities, it is a temporary feeling. After several weeks of training, it is highly likely that you will feel discouraged, when that happens only self-discipline will give you the strength to continue ! You will just have to bite the bullet. Tell yourself : « Every day, I will study French for thirty minutes, period ». Moreover, you new found ability to stick to your guns will be very useful in other parts of your life ! Several scientific studies say that the human brain needs 21 days acquire a new habit, so beginning will be the most difficult time but after three weeks i twill become part of your routine!
  • Be clear about your goals, plan step by step your progress. For example : « I have four months to reach A2 level. »
  • Be consistent, you will learn much better by studying thirty minutes everyday that four hours once a week. That is how human brain works ! Of course you have to be disciplined to be regular.

To sum up, bear in mind these rules : Regularity, organization and self-discipline. Now that you have understood the importance of these rules, let’s start learning French ! Here I tell you how to proceed step by step.

First step : Learn the basics. (A1-A2 level)

As I told you before, you have two possibilities to learn French quickly : you can study in a French school in France or you can study on your own. Obviously the first option is the most efficient, but also the more expensive. If you can afford this, do not hesitate ! Another solution is to buy a short course (one or two weeks). Even a short trip to France is ideal to put your language to good use and practice. This will also help you keep motivated.

I will talk about it at the end of this article. First let’s see how to organise your training. Here are my suggestions :

  • Learn the French alphabet. This is the first thing you have to do ! Try to pronounce each letter out loud. Repeat several times.
  • Study minimum thirty minutes every day, find a method which is not focus only on grammar, it is better to start by learning whole sentences. By doing this you will memorize vocabulary and you will be able to talk about simple topics. I would suggest the Assimil method, Teach yourself, books and online material…
  • Learn the common, everyday words.
  • Try to listen to the French language every day, a huge amount of content is available on the internet : songs, tv channels, audiobooks… Try them all ! Little by little you ear will get tuned. The BBC has several excellent programmes too.

Learning the basics alone requires several months. If you follow my suggestions, you should progress fast !

Step Two : Strengthening. (B1-B2 level)

You can be proud of yourself ! You have been learning French for several months and now you can talk generally about a few of your favourite subjects! For the following period, proceed like this :

  • It is time to study grammar ! You have learned a lot of words but now you need to understand the logic of the French language. Find a good method that focus on grammar and a dictionary of verbs and how to conjugate them (there is a good one called Bescherelle).
  • Keep listening to French ! Try a website such as Lyrics Training. You will have to listen and complete the lyrics of French songs, that is a fun way to improve your comprehension skills.
  • Sign up to a website like italki where you can find a teacher or a native pen pal. This is a way to keep motivated. Just one class a week would be very effective !
  • Start to watch French movies or series with subtitles.

Step Three : Advanced training. (C1-C2 level)

Congratulations ! Now your French is really getting good ! Let’s continue studying at an advanced level ! There is much to do now:

  • Read books, press articles, websites… You will learn more and more vocabulary and you will master the syntax. Do not translate words, only those which stop you from getting the gist. Read topics that you are interested in.
  • Watch television, movies and French series. It is quite easy to find content online. For example Netflix is available in several languages.
  • Continue keeping some classes on Skype if possible.
  • Travel to France ! It is time to put your language into practice ! You should really try to do this, you deserve it !

learn french in france

To conclude…

I would like to stress that nowadays the best way to learn a language is to go abroad. When you experience full immersion, you learn very quickly and it is always interesting to discover a new culture. If you can afford to do this, you will also understand how important is to choose the right language school. To progress quickly, choose a French school that has the French government quality label. I would strongly recommend French in Normandy in Rouen because it offers : quality courses, a super cosy, friendly atmosphere, it is easy to get to Paris and Rouen is a very beautiful French city… This article will help you to know how to choose the best French language school.

Last but not least, do not forget that you now have everything you need to succeed ! Good luck ! Bon continuation !

séjour linguistique en France

5 raisons de faire un séjour linguistique en France

Vous apprenez le français ? Vous envisagez de faire un séjour linguistique en France ? Vous hésitez à franchir le pas ?

Dans cet article je vous donne 5 bonnes raisons de réaliser un séjour linguistique en France ! Embarquez, l’aventure vous attend !

séjour linguistique en France


Premier avantage : L’immersion linguistique.

Eh oui, une fois en France vous serez plongé dans un monde totalement francophone, ce qui aura un effet particulièrement positif sur votre cerveau. En effet, le fait de perdre ses repères va forcer ce dernier à s’adapter, l’apprentissage de la langue se fera donc beaucoup plus rapidement. C’est pourquoi plusieurs professeurs de langue conseillent de se créer une « bulle » dans laquelle vous pouvez simuler cette immersion linguistique. Par exemple vous pouvez mettre votre téléphone en français, écouter la radio et la télévision française sur internet, etc. Tout ceci contribue à forcer le cerveau à enregistrer avec une plus grande efficacité la langue. Ainsi, lors d’un séjour linguistique, vous serez entièrement plongé dans un monde francophone, ce qui aura pour effet un apprentissage beaucoup plus rapide.

Conseil : ne soyez pas tenté de vous tourner vers vos compatriotes, sinon votre cerveau aura beaucoup plus de mal à s’adapter !

Deuxième avantage : L’immersion culturelle.

Apprendre une langue, c’est aussi s’intéresser à la culture locale ! Durant vos cours, de nombreux thèmes seront abordés afin d’enrichir vos connaissances en civilisation française. Le fait d’étudier certaines périodes historiques, le cinéma, la gastronomie, la littérature, les célébrités et même plusieurs coutumes et traditions vous aidera réellement à penser comme les français. Chaque langue est unique et transmet une vision du monde différente, vous avez donc l’occasion d’apprendre à réfléchir autrement. Certaines études démontrent même que les langues influencent l’humeur et la personnalité !

Conseil : Il est quasiment toujours possible de choisir un hébergement en famille d’accueil, optez pour cette formule afin d’en apprendre plus sur la manière de vivre des français !

Troisième avantage : Partez à la rencontre des natifs !

Vous aurez bien évidemment l’occasion de faire connaissance avec des français. Le fait de développer un réseau social est excellent pour vous faire progresser considérablement dans votre apprentissage. Vous apprendrez le vocabulaire de la vie courante ainsi que de nombreuses expressions ! Si possible, sortez et participez à un maximum d’activités (sport, musées, bars…). Ainsi, vous allez rencontrer des gens avec qui vous partagez des passions communes, ce sera donc plus facile de nouer des liens d’amitié !

Bonus : si vous êtes célibataire, qui sait, peut-être allez-vous rencontrer un(e) petit(e)-ami(e) français(e) ! Idéal pour pratiquer, non ?

Quatrième avantage : Vivez une expérience incroyable !

Lorsque vous choisissez une école de langue réputée, vous avez la garantie de passer un séjour inoubliable ! Pourquoi cela ? Plusieurs raisons :

  • Vous allez bénéficier d’une excellente qualité de cours, vous apprendrez donc plus vite.
  • L’ambiance est toujours très agréable, c’est un endroit idéal pour faire connaissance avec des apprenants du monde entier.
  • Des activités sont quasiment toujours proposées, vous aurez donc l’occasion de découvrir les plus beaux endroits à proximité de la ville. Veillez à choisir une école qui propose ce genre d’excursions !
  • Le tourisme ! La France est le pays le plus visité du monde, vous aurez l’occasion de parcourir ce beau pays !

Conseil : si je devais recommander une école en particulier, je choisirais French in Normandy à Rouen, la capitale de la Normandie. Outre le fait qu’il s’agisse d’une école de haute qualité, garantissant un apprentissage rapide, elle est très bien située géographiquement. Vous y aurez l’occasion de découvrir Paris, le Mont Saint-Michel, les falaises normandes ainsi que le centre-ville de Rouen ! De plus, la Normandie est l’une des régions les plus célèbres de France !

Mont-Saint Michel

Cinquième avantage : Une occasion de passer les examens officiels, le DELF ou le DALF !

Il vous sera beaucoup plus facile de passer un examen officiel reconnaissant mondialement votre niveau de langue. Les écoles de langues sont des endroits où il est possible de passer ce type d’épreuve. Décrocher un tel certificat apporterait un sérieux atout à votre CV !

De plus, si vous validez un niveau B2 ou C1, vous aurez même l’occasion de pouvoir faire vos études en France. Les écoles de langues étant souvent partenaires avec des établissements d’enseignement supérieur, vous n’aurez aucun mal à vous insérer dans le cursus universitaire français. Plusieurs écoles et universités sont très bien réputées internationalement.

En conclusion…

Désormais, vous n’avez plus aucune excuse pour ne pas faire un séjour linguistique en France ! Ce projet peut s’avérer couteux mais c’est vraiment un achat utile ! Vous investirez ainsi sur vous-même et le fait de parler français vous servira durant toute votre vie. Réaliser un séjour linguistique dans une bonne école, c’est avoir la garantie de progresser rapidement et de vivre une expérience enrichissante et inoubliable ! N’attendez plus, commencez dès maintenant à planifier votre séjour !

You are learning because you want to learn | Student Blog

Let’s see how Alan is getting on at French in Normandy with this latest update…


Well its getting a little tougher now! We have begun to look at ‘au present simple’ and ‘passe compose’ – in other words present and past tense! When they start discussing ‘conjugasion’ and reflexive verbs, I struggle. I never learnt this in English let alone in French! However, I’m not feeling too bad about it as although it is taking some concentration it is beginning to register slowly in my very small and very old brain!

The other interesting change is the way that within only two weeks this small international fraternity of students begin to mould into small friendships. Mind you, every now and then someone new appears – a new starter, and someone disappears – either finished and off home, or worse for one’s self-esteem they have been moved to a different group, presumably because they are too good for us beginners. At first, you feel a little piqued and then as Eleri, our seat of all wisdom, remarked “Well, how long did it take you to learn your first language?”. You then realise it’s not a competition here. You are learning because you want to learn, and you learn at whatever pace is right for you. It relaxes you when you accept this.

Every morning there is a little congregation outside the entrance to the school that greet each other warmly with little smiles of embarrassment in their new-found French. Each day there are new phrases added to the vocabulary that we all try out on each other, and if you happen to say something not quite correct to someone who is a couple of groups ahead of you, they gently smile and educate you in the correct way – regardless of age by the way, the other day a 17-year-old Japanese girl corrected my pronunciation, thank you Mina! Its all done with the best intentions and a far cry from the bullying aggressive attitude of my inner-city school gate; oh so, so, so long ago!

Beautiful Normandy Countryside

It’s quite sweet and makes you feel part of one big, probably slightly, dysfunctional family.

As for life ‘en France’, is it becoming easier and more familiar? Peut-être (perhaps). I visited Fontainebleau, south-west of Paris last week-end. It’s worth a visit for the palace alone. Anyway, I was quite confident as I checked in to my hotel, announcing in a strong voice in French that they should have a reservation for me? Trouble is, one should also remember that the quicker and more confident one sounds the quicker and more complex they respond. C’est une problem. This left me feeling a little awkward and embarrassed as I had to ask them to repeat their question ‘lentements, s’il vous plait!’. They then glance slightly despairingly at the heavens and respond with near perfect English, which of course does not help me improve my French one little bit. I have to say, in a mild defence of the majority of my countrymen, it is quite difficult to learn a foreign language when you are British because a) which one do you choose? And b) everyone by now speaks near perfect English and cannot be bothered to help educate us. I don’t blame them, but it does sometimes get a little frustrating, but then the whole of the French nation is not here to teach me French. Damn my arrogance!

So another week over. I’ll keep you posted on progress.

Alan


 

First week back at school – Part Deux | Student Blog

We’re back with Alan, from Stratford upon Avon, Home of William Shakespeare. Alan is a young 57 year old student who has come to Rouen to learn French before a) embarking on a 1000 mile horse trek on the Route D’Artagnan through France and into Italy and b) with a view to living in France permanently. Read on to learn more about his first week as a student at FIN…


Salut, everyone! It’s now one week since I started at French in Normandy. I confess to being really tired at the end of each days lessons which seem to fly by. For the first time ever I have been able to understand NUMBERS in French! I always used to know how to count to about fifty, after that I could never work it out but I now know, understand and can calculate the numbers. That said, when you finally manage to understand how they build the numbers up in the language it seems very bizarre as an Englishman. Basically, they say for example; for seventy-seven – sixty plus seventeen! Which is soixante-dix-sept. Eighty is four times twenty – Quatre-vingt and ninety is four time twenty plus ten, in otherwords Quatre-vingt dix! I’ll let you work out what sixty nine is! Now I bet that has confused you all but our excellent Professeur, the slightly mad Viktor, makes it seem so normal and easy. Literally within one lesson I could understand and work out the numbers and even understand them when they were being said to me. Brilliant.

This week has also explained simple stuff like asking for someone’s email address and business card. Where they live? What they do for a living? Do they have a mobile number? Basically all the things you need when you want to start to exist and talk to someone in France.

What I think is very cool about the way we are taught is that it all comes mixed up within building the conversation. You learn to listen, to pronounce; then get to read it and then write it. By the time you have done that the phrases and words you have learned stay stuck in your brain without you realising it.

The best bit is that although Viktor has a structure to the lesson, if the students (étudiant(e)s en français) start to converse in French on a different subject he lets the subject run, interjecting and adding to our knowledge, using the internet in conjunction; to help us grow our vocabulaire and our comprehension. Just so unlike the school lessons I used to have!

I also went on a trip this week, with some of the students and a teacher, the lovely Christine, to Honfleur. It’s a beautiful port just thirty five minutes drive from Rouen. I had been there before years ago but going with fellow students and a French Professeur made it all seem slightly less like a tourist town. I’m sure I spotted some fellow Brits so I ducked my head and avoided eye contact and spoke French loudly so they didn’t recognise me as a brit as well. Nothing could be worse!

The weekend for me has been spent exploring a few French villages and enjoying very tasty French food and ‘les vins‘ – in the words of the advertisement – “le pain, du vins et le Boursin” except it was infinitely better local “fromages des pays“. All in all a very happy and satisfactory first week ‘en france‘. I’ll keep you posted next week.

Alan


1ST WEEK BACK AT SCHOOL | Student Blog

This week we invite Alan, a mature student from England, to tell us a bit about his first week at French in Normandy as part of a series on our student blog.


I wouldn’t have said I was your archetypal student, but then according to Eleri Maitland the Director and owner of French in Normandy there is no such thing as an archetypal student. I am not surprised to hear her say this, as Eleri is not your archetypal French School Teacher! For a start off, the owner of the best French language school in France is not French! She is very proudly, une Femme Galloise vivant en France. (‘a Welsh woman living in France’ for those uninitiated amongst you. Look at me speaking French already!) Eleri started the school some 25 years ago and with her excellent team have landed the top prizes in their industry. I am lucky enough to be enrolled for 15 hours of French language tuition a week in their cool and slightly chic school in the Sotteville region of Rouen. Home of such notables as Jeanne D ‘Arc and Guillaume Le Conquerant. As an Englishman in Rouen (Is that the name of a Sting track?) I should feel at home, after all we were ruled and spoke Norman French in England for 200 years. Richard the Lionheart (Coeur de Lion, as in the Camembert Cheese brand) was also the Duke of Normandy, and its true I do feel very much at home.

Right from the beginning when I had my assessment test with the friendly Vanessa I was made to feel at home. I was a little nervous I must admit, after all I am a 57-year-old returning to school to study French, the last time I was in a classroom was 42 years ago!

First of all, Vanessa sat me down with a cup of coffee and asked me to tell her a little about myself, in French of course – both the question and my answer! Now here is the thing; the key point; the point of no return, the tingling moment that you have to ‘man-up’ to when you enrol in a French language school in France – you have to get over your nerves, forget about maybe sounding a bit silly and actually talk. Even if you only know the word for Hello (Bonjour) that is enough. You just have to get over that one little hurdle.

Fortunately for me I knew and somehow remembered a few words and promptly murdered the French language with what was probably the worst grammar and worst accent poor Vanessa and the rest of France has had to endure since God was a boy! She was polite, smiles a lot and gently helped me stagger through a few sentences about where I was from, what I did for a living and such like. Then when she could bear the terrible French anymore (not that she gave anything away) I was led to the ‘ Technologie‘ room, that is to say a room full of laptops and screens, where I was asked to answer as best I could about 30 multiple choice French questions. Some of them I couldn’t even say out loud to myself, some I kind of recognised a few words and pretty well all of them I didn’t understand a single word and, so I guessed. Amazingly I scored 42%. I was obviously a language natural, a linguistic god in the making.

Not quite, it turned out after my week end break on the first proper day of school I was in class B1. I think that means Beginner 1. C’est la Vie, what did I expect? Well I did not expect Victor! He is Le Professuer. Now in England Professor conjures up images of a bald bespectacled slightly serious old man in a cap and gown, not some wacky, football loving, video game playing family man with a rather cute line in Gold lame pencil cases. From the off, we were in good hands as he digressed almost immediately from the prescribed curriculum into some hilarious expedition into the habits, loves and life of a fellow student all the way from Sainata in Japan, whose passion in life turned out to be world-wide wrestling, or as the French say La Lutte. The Japanese sounding, part English part French explanation to our puzzled French Professeur had him and us in stitches. I do not remember my French lessons at school being this much fun.

The rest of the morning flew by and at one o’clock Victor called time for lunch, that is one habit the French do extremely well and should never ever be allowed to alter. President Macron do you hear me? The French lunch-break should be sacrosanct in law.

What made this first day so weird was not so much Victor’s très bizarre humour and methods but the fact that by the end of that first morning, somehow, he had achieved the impossible feat of squeezing more knowledge of the French language into my old and small brain that in four years at my old comprehensive school. The fact that not once, in a class room full of international students ranging from ages 18 to 58 did I feel unwelcome, out of place, stupid or embarrassed. It bodes well for the rest of the week. I’ll let you know.

Alan