Refreshing my French

Dordogne RiverHappy news! We’re going to France in June for a week-long bicycle tour in Dordogne. So what does that mean? Training on the bike? Well, yes, but what else does it mean? Yes! Re-learning French!

I studied French for a couple of years in college (my university’s first trial of the Rassias Method of language teaching, which is a whole ‘nother story), took a couple of French literature classes, and have been to France a couple of times, but the last time was five years ago.

I’ve got 4-5 months to re-acquire French. How to do it? I dug out all the French dictionaries, phrase books, and CDs we’ve got lying around the house. I put the CD lessons on my iPod and will be listening to them in the car and wherever else I can. I signed up for the BBC’s Ma France online course. Time to load up my Netflix queue with French movies. I need to learn accessibility-specific terms, not usually a priority in tourist guidebooks. Any other suggestions?



  1. karen

    Ok The learning French is one thing, but tell me more about the cycling…

    Are you bringing your own cycle?
    Are they able to transport everything for you?
    What do they do with your wheelchair?

    So many questions!

    After my 100 mile cycle this fall, my father was going to take me to cycle some of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compastella (in Spain) but the logistics overwhelmed us before the idea got off the ground.

    on a different note – We spent Xmas in Quebec in the snow and the freewheel rocks! if you haven’t got yourself one yet, you should.

    happy new year

  2. Katja (Post author)

    Good questions, and ones that have been obsessing me for the last 5 months. The answers deserve their own post: Cycling Tour Logistics: How I Think it’s Going to Work.

    I’m jealous about your Freewheel, and psyched to hear that it worked so well!

  3. Jennifer Fitz

    Your plan sounds pretty good. A couple other things you might add to the routine:

    -Watch DVD’s you already know (English-language) on the French track, no subtitles. You lose the mouths-matching-words thing, but you gain the whole “I know what’s happening, and here are the words that go with”.

    -Start subbing out words when you use English at home (assuming your Beloved is going with, right?) So you are speaking fluent Franglais. Add as many words as you can master. “Je voudrais le dinner plate vert”, etc. (When you get to france, all you’ll need to do is say “Je voudrais *le truc* [the thing] vert” and you’re fluent.

    -Read! You could do something like pick one random article/day and slug through it. Read the french instructions/warnings first on new products before reading the English.

    Good luck – very excited for you.

  4. Katja (Post author)

    Great suggestions, thank you! Not sure my Beloved will go along with me talking to him in Franglais as he is currently working on Italian, but the rest sounds very do-able.

  5. Jennifer Fitz

    And I don’t suppose you talk to yourself all that much. (If you do, there you go.) The cat, maybe? Or maybe write all your personal to-lists, notes, etc in franglais?

    Anyhow I’m sure you’re good to go regardless. You’ll go nuts if you try to do every possible thing.


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