This is true of so many skills but especially in the case of languages. I am fundamentally lazy when it comes to maintaining my French. I am always full of good intentions – I will listen to French radio. After all, my car radio is permanently tuned to French Radio London. I will read French novels. Although the new Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling) thriller, the Silkworm, is so difficult to put down!
What do I do to maintain my fluency? This is where the Internet is totally wonderful. At the press of a key, one can be transported into a virtual world of French. There are so many amazing sites that one can visit, it is impossible to name them all. Transparent Language delivers a ‘French Word of the Day’ into my mail box every morning. There is even the possibility to hear the word pronounced correctly and put in context. I also subscribe to a French language blog: http://blogs.transparent.com/french/
However, there is nothing that compares with talking to a ‘real’ French person. Over the years, I have joined a variety of conversation classes. The local university runs one and when my children attended the local secondary school, I was lucky enough to have one-to-one conversation lessons with their French assistant.
According to my family, I am a total embarrassment when coming into contact with anyone who comes from a French speaking country. When out for a meal, if the waiting staff happen to be French speakers, I just have to converse with them, in French, while my husband and sons cringe! They’ll never stop me, however… When speaking French I morph into another person who – in my head – becomes more glamourous and interesting!
I’d be very interested to know how anyone reading this manages to practise and maintain their linguistic skills.
Have to go. I’ve just discovered a teacher in Beziers who will give conversation lessons via Skype!