What A difference A Day Makes To Your French

Written by on March 31, 2016 in Courses

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An afternoon back at French school

If you think you can’t significantly improve your French in just a few hours, then you haven’t been to the Alpine French School in Morzine. And if you’ve ever wanted to improve your French language in a relatively painless and short period of time, then you need to make a trip to the Alpine French School a priority this year.

The Alpine French School

morzine

Founded in 2003 and recognised by the French government for the high standard of their professionally run courses, the Alpine French School is in the centre of the alpine town of Morzine, just an hour from Geneva.  It offers a selection of intensive French courses, classes and workshops and it’s a fantastic school to visit if you need or want to improve your French or even learn it from scratch. And particularly if you fancy combining all that with a bit of alpine sport.

Is your French a little rusty?  

Not convinced you can improve your French in just an afternoon? I joined a class of 4 for an Intensive French Course. From the outset our teacher Lucille spoke in clear, simple French and the concept behind the lesson was that whatever you wanted to say, you said it in French, with help from Lucille in French as and if you needed it.

We started with some simple conversation to get us all warmed up. Then we tackled a few pronouns, before both listening to a transcript, watching some French adverts and practicing by filling in the missing words. I’d never really given pronouns much attention before, sprinkling them randomly into my sentences with little care for accuracy so this was a bit of an eye opener and our teacher Lucille discreetly slipped in lots of information about the different verb tenses we were using (or trying to).

Quirky French “idioms” which you probably don’t need to know but should learn anyway.

Every language has their idioms and they can be one of the hardest parts of understanding what’s being said. So the part of the class that tackled these was both useful and a lot of fun as we tried to work out both their literal and figurative meaning. My favourites of that afternoon have to be:

  • “Quand les poules auronts des dents” which I now know literally translates as when chickens grow teeth or as we’d say in the UK, when pigs fly.
  • “Ne pas vendre le peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué” or don’t sell the bear skin before you’ve killed the bear. Meaning one thing at a time and very apt I suppose for the mountains!
  • “Il ne faut pas pousser mémé dans les orties” which means don’t push granny in the nettles or don’t go too far! An alternative of which is also “Il ne faut pas pousser le bouchon trop loin” an expression coined by a very famous (well in France anyway) French advert!

And now I just can’t wait to get the chance to use at least one of the above!

By 6 pm…

alpine-french-schoolI had genuinely expected to either lose concentration or my brain to just shut up shop at the prospect of spending 3 hours in a foreign language. But not a bit of it. The lesson simply flew by and there’s something wholeheartedly satisfying about stumbling around the French language with other students, and being understood. By the end of my first class, forgotten French I must’ve once known had (if not flooded) trickled back and I’d learnt a huge amount about verb tenses and grammar. Better still I’d dusted off my rusty conversation skills and given them a good polish and I went on to do an hour’s French conversation class before I talked to myself in French all the way back to my apartment.

Filled with rekindled enthusiasm and confidence for this lovely language, after just one class I felt so confident and inspired, I’d set my sights on writing up my memories of France in French. My French had improved dramatically in the space of an afternoon although when I pick up my pen to start writing, I think it may be time to say to myself, “ne pas vendre le peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué”!

You can find out more about the Alpine French School and their french classes and courses at www.alpinefrenchschool.com 

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