Well, I may have dropped the ball on this project but I didn’t lose it. Despite the housing market in the USA, we’re hoping to sell our home and move back to Canada next summer. With that in mind it seemed an opportune time to get back to learning French so I took some baby steps this week and reviewed the first few power point lessons. This weekend I’m learning the 19 forms of the present verb (chanter, finir, prendre, venir, partir, connaitre, craindre, voir, mettre, etre, lire, ouvrir, avoir, aller, faire, prendre, voulvoir, pouvoir, devoir), and practicing pronunciation.
If you are curious about the program have a look at Robert Fontaine’s site–there’s a link to it in the links section as well.
The program is structured into several modules, as well as numerous supplementary study aids and audio files. The modules consist of collections of PowerPoint files. This week I’ve worked through the first module, a collection of four PowerPoint files on alphabet, pronunciation, and gender. The PP files are cleverly assembled from appropriate graphics, transitions, and audio. I have found these very effective in helping me to understand both the unique sounds of the French language as well as in developing a sense of the unique cadence of French.
I find that even at this point, maximizing the material means trusting in the method. One must trust that this teacher really knows what he’s talking about as not everything makes perfect sense at the outset–some of it only becomes clearer with progress.
Since first posting in late 2007 about tackling my goal of learning french through Robert Fontaine’s “French KISS” method, I’ve delayed starting several times. My excuse for delaying has been my feeling that I was not ready to spend time on French while still working on my MBA. With my MBA drawing to completion in the beginning of May, I am now looking forward to beginning and am again reviewing the French KISS, course materials.
Mr. Fontaine says that one can develop conversational ability and understanding in about 100 days. His unique approach, which seems to be built on perceiving/experiencing/using the language, looks promising.
One important component of the program will be practicing which leads to the obvious question of “where?” Do I practice French on the treadmill at the gym? Sometimes a person on a machine nearby, earbuds snugged tightly, sings, usually off key, and entirely unselfconsciously. Would practicing a foreign language be any more odd? Perhaps not if it were Spanish but this is Arizona and French might cause other gym members to worry that I was in religious ecstasy. Other places for practice would be my home, when other family members are out; my car on my way to and from work every day (20 minutes either way); or, in the shower. For me it will probably be a mix of practicing while driving to work and downtime at home.
I have begun examining the learning package that I received in the mail some time ago. The package includes an audio CD which will be great for me to play in the car each day as I have a 20 minute drive to work. It also includes numerous audio-visual oriented power point lessons as well as both MS word, and PDF materials. Once I have a closer look I will post a list of the contents. I have however, given the materials a cursory look and the program immediately strikes me as a unique approach that pays special attention to helping learners to master French pronounciation.
More on the program soon, and then I will begin my 112 day countdown!
I plan to return to Canada from the USA in 2 to 4 years. When I do, I’d like to be able to meet whatever bilingual requirements may exist for any job that I might apply for. Robert Fontaine, a teacher of French in Canada, has provided me with a program to try out. He has taught many civil servants French and has brought them to the high level of written, and spoken, fluency required by the Canadian Federal Government. I will specifically be following his “Learn to Speak French in 112 Days,” program. Once I receive the program and begin studying, I will post my progress on this site.
If you wish to check out Robert Fontaine’s materials, visit his “French KISS,” site. “KISS,” stands for “Keep it Simple S’il-vous-plait.”