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Are you feeling rusty, Francophones?

August 9, 2007

"Moi, je la vois comme une plaie utile,

Marquant le temps d’ocre jaune et de roux.
La rouille aurait un charme fou
Si elle ne s’attaquait qu’aux grilles."

    La Rouille by Maxime Le Forestier

Chers Amis,

Ok, fellow francophones (and I know a few of you are out there), are you feeling rusty?  Do you open your mouth to speak and the words stick?  Have the lyrics to Barney songs or the names of the state capitals replaced the conjugation rules for the subjunctive or whether a verb is followed by a or de?  I ran into a native speaker the other day and while I understood her perfectly, my mouth was sluggush and I could hear that my accent has –  shifted with disuse.  Ack!  What is happening to me? C’est la rouille bien sur!  Of course the only true solution is several months in France with friends, but this is not in the budget going to happen cette annee. Alors, qu’est qu’on peut faire? 

It can be REALLY difficult to find resources to brush up at the upper levels as the majority of the books/tapes are aimed at beginners, but I found a few resources to help scour off that annoyinFrench_revg linguistic patina.


  • The Ultimate French Review and Practice w/CD-ROM (Ultimate Book & CD Rom) – This is an excellent book that now comes with a CD rom with audio.  (Of course I bought mine before the addition of the CD 😦  Zut!)  I keep it out on my sofa table and read it at night, quizzing myself with the excercises.It is definitely worth the $14!!  If I were more diligent I would work through the whole book.  Peut-etre un de ces jours.  (Note to self – figure out how to switch keyboard to French version so you can actually write the accents, argh!)
  • For a good auditory workout, listen to the news in French at RFI – Radio France Internationale.  This is a internet radio program called "Le journal en français facile" – Un journal qui presente l’actualite avec des mots simples and explique les evenements dans leur contexte.  It is recorded three times a day and a script is available if you need to follow along. RFI also has on-line exercises based on extraits from the news, in-depth explanation of vocabulary, and les exercices d’écoute.  Poke around this site, it holds many other anti-rust resources. 🙂
  • Lastly, listen to a little music.  If you don’t have any of your own (my Brassens/Brel tape from 1988 finally broke), the internet is a great source.  If you like Georges Brassens, this is a rich site.  Les passantes is quite lovely.  Click on the link at the top the post to hear a clip from the Maxime Le Forestier song.  Francis Cabrel is also good.  Do you have any favorites?

Well, it is dinner time so I have to run. A bientot!


2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2007 1:21 pm

    Alas, my only idea is to watch a movie. My favorites are the original Beauty and the Beast (b&w and really good till the very last scene which cracks me up every time) and Le Divorce which has great music and a not too family friendly plot line (see title for info) but is a great mommy treat (Paris! The clothes! The handbags! The food!).

  2. hélène permalink
    August 19, 2007 3:00 pm

    Je vais voir ce que je peux faire …

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