Our experience in a second foreign language and how we did to progress
Born in France and Switzerland, we are 2 friends who love to travel. In Geneva, French and English are the most spoken languages and it was very common to hear French, English, and even Italian in business environments or around a good restaurant. It was, alas, far from enough to become fully proficient. So here’s what helped us a lot :
We travelled to different countries, including an extended stay in Australia, but our responsibilities were waiting for us back home. We have visited New Zealand several times, a truly magnificent country, impressive both for its beauty and for the kindness of its people. Today we live on an island called Malta. We have been living in this English-speaking country for several years now. The two official languages are English and Maltese. And even in such a small country there is a beautiful community of Francophones, so we are immersed in French and English every day !
How we overcame our discomfort and weak vocabulary
We read stories. Reading isn’t always seeing as an extraordinary activity and yet, it has certainly helped us a lot in learning another language. Why ? Because stories express ideas from different perspectives and provide original thoughts. There’s nothing like it to motivate you. It is well known that our brains are more active while reading stories. So we read all kinds of stories. With each paragraph, we became more curious and capable of retaining more information because the experience was pleasant. In addition, we appreciated the reflections stories generated and we think you will feel the same with French stories. Indeed, stories can make us more attentive to our surroundings in our daily lives. But the major asset od reading is the following :
Have self-confidence, read regularly and be able to practise
Acquiring a better vocabulary through these stories helped us again more confidence, and this could be felt in our daily conversations. Actually, we weren't the one who first realized it, our entourage did. Within a few months we were more comfortable, and public speaking had become less frustraring. We not saying that it was easy, but we felt less self-conscious, and even calmer after achievements. it is commonly known that the less vocabulary you have, the harder it is to integrate socially. it's a fact of life and something we experienced first-hand.
On the contrary, the more material you have, the more connected you feel and the more motivated you are to continue, bringing you a lot more satisfaction. It's not a big deal if you make mistakes because you experience something much more fulfilling : that of being more confident ! And the more we read stories, the more we wanted to talk people and put our knowledge into practise. And even if the words and expressions that learned in our stories were quite specific, it didn't matter, we could reuse them in many other contexts. Let's take a better look at how we practised :
How did we progress without feeling bored
Back then, we bought books and underlined words that we didn't know. We found it interesting to understand the meaning of these words in their exact context. Understanding the meaning of the sentence makes it easier to remember new words.
Reading a story is convenient because you can start it, take a break from it, and resume it whenever you want. The pleasure to continue and know the ending always remains. Stories give you the freedom to progress at our own pace, without constraint. But not only that : Reading regularly has made us progress a lot. Even today we continue to improve our second language. You too will be amazed to see how pleasant it is to learn new words and expressions from adults fictions with varied themes. What is the result ? Allow us to put it simply :
Stories are a good complement to your learning experience
We not giving you a method that fits all or one that works miracles. It’s up to you to improve your skills with all the existing supports in order to each your objectives. But stories are a very good complement to your learning experience and will provide interesting results. Ideally, you should read regularly. One read and appreciated story can teach you a lot of new words in Molière’s language !
Remember you that anything is possible ! Now make way for the French language !
Carol & Nat