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Link-O-Rama: How to Improve your French Listening Skills?

How to Improve your French Listening Skills?
A good site, but consider this:

The primary cause of listening issues is the failure to learn the sound-symbol relationship in French. Learners will naturally tend to pronounce letters and letter combinations as they are pronounced in their native language. However this makes your French difficult to understand and interferes greatly with your acquisition of the language. Basically, if the word has no fixed, obvious pronunciation to you, you are unlikely to acquire it. Also, if there are major differences between the words as you produce them and the way they sound when you hear them, here too you will gain much less from listening and will acquire less, since you won't recognize the spoken forms of words you know in print and will have much less information to work with when unknown words need to be guessed.

In short, not knowing the sound-symbol system for French early on your studies is a deal breaker. Fail here and you will never be conversant. Some people progress well in this area but few do well without explicit instruction and lots of practice. Short of intensivity on the level of 4-6 hours a week, most people just won't show much growth.

Another issue with French is juncture, the changes in sounds that occur between adjacent words when speaking. Most learners receive at least a little direct instruction here, but not enough to produce these changes reliably in speech. Here again, there are serious consequences for comprehension if you don't get enough solid instruction and practice.

French is spoken in phrases, and words within the phrases blend together in predictable but unfamiliar patterns. If you don't know the patterns and don't produce them yourself, you're unlikely to be able to separate the phrases you hear into their component words and you will understand very little. Again, you won't get much benefit from listening and you won't progress much.

Then … intonation. Raising and lowering of the tone has some functions similar to those in English, such as indicating that a sentence is a question. However in French it's a divider between phrases and contributes greatly to your ability to manage longer sentences. Very few learners appreciate how critically important these tone changes are for comprehension and teachers rarely give it the attention it deserves.

So, in summary, pronunciation skills are a main key to success and not a "frill" to be postponed to later.

Not that grammar and vocabulary don't matter. You aren't going to understand broadcasts where you don't know nearly all the words very well (probably 95%+ for some topics) so that's something to think about, too. If the news report is about EU politics and you don't know lots of vocabulary for that topic, forget about understanding it globally. You won't. However, if you know the phonetics of French you'll pick out the words you know quite reliably, and that's where you have to start.

There are more interesting links on the linkorama page...

How the East African Community is harming Canadian children in need.

TLDR; Seriously, my point is that the meager assistance that actually trickles down to those in need is almost completely eclipsed by the money kept by both the for-profits and the non-profits.

Young girl from northern Canada holding up an I Need Milk sign
...but what I actually want are some delicious diabetes guidelines!

The CBC article title is: "Charities, resellers feeling the pinch of stiffer tariffs on cheap second-hand clothing flooding East Africa" (read it online or read the PDF)

I'm having some trouble understanding who's feeling the pinch?

Ah. I see. We are. Those bloody Africans are causing Canadian "charities and businesses to feel the strain" which has "already started to impact the industry and started some job losses" .

You see, whether it's a good idea or not, The East African Community (EAC) made up of Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda - hopes ...

Read the rest of this interesting article.

@#$&! You, Mr. Lahey

Despite the title, I mourn truly the passing of one of my favourite Trailer Park Boys.

John Dunsworth, Mr. Lahey on Trailer Park Boys, dead at 71 

I'll really miss his shitisms.

Older Stuff

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Maybe read No Big Deal, a story I consider to be the very best thing I ever wrote.