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Old 02.02.2012, 21:24
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Must improve my French

I have been living in CH for 9 months now. Yet i don't feel like i have learned any new French vocab or phrases since arriving. I have basic French that i picked up whilst living in Paris. I can just about get by but i really want to improve.

The trouble is, i am looking after a toddler all day at home and baby no.2 is due in a few weeks. That means an evening language class is out of the question, by 7pm when i theoretically clock off i am exhausted. Plus husbands job means he is not always home to take over babysittting on time. And i haven't found a class in the daytime with a creche.

I thought about a CD in the car / kitchen that i can play in the background. Can anybody recommend a language CD, or another option? What works for you? How did you learn the local language? All tips welcome, but no please don't suggest i take a Swiss lover on board.
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Old 02.02.2012, 21:27
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Re: Must improve my French

Michel Thomas might be a good try for you. Helped me for German ( MP3 tracks playing in the background whilst I am moderating )

http://www.michelthomas.com/

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Old 02.02.2012, 21:31
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Re: Must improve my French

That looks really good. Thanks!
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Old 02.02.2012, 21:40
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Re: Must improve my French

I really appreciate the position you are in .. I was in the same position (with German) 4 years ago ... a preschooler and baby 2 due imminently.

My solution (suggested randomly by a neighbour I hardly knew .. but thank goodness she mentioned it) was to do an evening class (not too late .. 6pm) and to have a babysitter in who took over at about 4.30pm, leaving me time to do a bit of homework before class time. As it was a second baby, I was much more relaxed about leaving him when very little (and also about expressing or formula topping up when I didn't manage it).

Four years on and the arrangement has stuck fast. I now do a course at 7.30pm so have even longer time so I can wander into Basel, look at a few shops or drink a coffee, do my homework and then get along to class. It is my "me" time and I don't feel too bad about it because my language skills have come on in leaps and bounds during the last 4 years and the whole family benefits. So "me time" but with family fringe benefits!

I found the babysitter through the playgroup that my older child attended.
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Old 02.02.2012, 21:47
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Re: Must improve my French

I often listen to Learn French by Podcast in the car. Short sharp bursts of practical conversational French. http://www.learnfrenchbypodcast.com/

I'm with you on the problems of finding classes with a crèche or some type of babysitting. I often get grief from locals on how bad my French is but they certainly don't make it easy for us mums with little kids to access the classes. And I personally find being in a small class much more motivating than trying to slog it out on my own.
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Old 02.02.2012, 21:55
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Re: Must improve my French

I would see if there is a neighbour in your building/area who speaks FR and a bit of EN who would be willing to have a coffee with you 2-3 times per week at your place. Spend 30+ minutes talking about anything. This will help with listening, vocabulary and speaking.
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Old 02.02.2012, 21:56
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Re: Must improve my French

ECAP in Zurich has language classes with a creche service. Would you be interested in something like that? I'm not sure which school in Lausanne offers it (I think there is one by Tunnel) but I could have a look on the interwebs...
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Old 02.02.2012, 22:06
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Re: Must improve my French

All good ideas, thanks everyone.

@ecb, you know i might just do that, get a babysitter so i am not left at the mercy of my husband's job.
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Old 02.02.2012, 23:03
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Re: Must improve my French

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@ecb, you know i might just do that, get a babysitter so i am not left at the mercy of my husband's job.
Exactly! One way I "sold" this plan to my husband was that he actually was able to come home late too .. instead of getting home for the usual 6.30pm to help me out. So it wasn't just a babysitter for me, it was for him too! And he is frequently away travelling, so a babysitter meant I could keep on going to classes whether or not he was around. We are in a small villlage so I advertised in the Commune newsletter for someone, but eventually found an English speaking sitter through my son's English speaking playgroup.

Good luck, and all the best for the new baby!
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Old 03.02.2012, 09:25
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Re: Must improve my French

I have been having lessons via skype which for me is great I have 2 sessions a week normally and is tailored to me... (being very basic at the mo) but as you can speak already then you can just have conversation classes to extend your vocab and your listening comprehension... just another option at least until you feel ready to leave the baby. Oh and they are not too expensive... I do it as at the moment as it gives me enough time to make sure the babies are all bathed and put to bed and then i can have my lesson in pjs lol!! my intention is to do a morning course once my baby is old enough to go to nursery so got a while yet I am just pleased my middle son starts in march...
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Old 03.02.2012, 12:26
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Re: Must improve my French

Hello ShaysLo, I agree with jrspet. The "michel thomas" cds really gave me a head start when I was starting with my french. I am not fluent yet and still learning more and more every day but atleast i am in a position to be able to communicate with people outside, at my daughter's garderie, shops.. etc.

I very much want to improve my french too... and was looking for a learning partner. And I am almost in your position ( one kid at home.. next to arrive late apr...) So if you want we can arrange to meet and study together. I have some french books and audios that I will be happy to share.

lemme know if this sounds good to you and we shall see what we can do


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I have been living in CH for 9 months now. Yet i don't feel like i have learned any new French vocab or phrases since arriving. I have basic French that i picked up whilst living in Paris. I can just about get by but i really want to improve.

The trouble is, i am looking after a toddler all day at home and baby no.2 is due in a few weeks. That means an evening language class is out of the question, by 7pm when i theoretically clock off i am exhausted. Plus husbands job means he is not always home to take over babysittting on time. And i haven't found a class in the daytime with a creche.

I thought about a CD in the car / kitchen that i can play in the background. Can anybody recommend a language CD, or another option? What works for you? How did you learn the local language? All tips welcome, but no please don't suggest i take a Swiss lover on board.
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