# French immersion

1. Apr 6, 2005

### Math Is Hard

Staff Emeritus
I started a French class tonight. I was really hesitant about it because it's an immersion class - no English. It was so much fun, though! I was surprised that I was able to follow the instructor so well.
I think this immersion technique might be the best way to learn a language - though I have to say - it was embarrassing having to respond and ask questions in French in front of the class when I know so little. I'm sure my face was completely red the whole time.
Have any of you done immersion classes in foreign languages? Did you prefer them to traditional instruction?

2. Apr 6, 2005

### Danger

I don't know how many Yanks are aware that Canada is officially bilingual. French is a mandatory subject (except perhaps in the Catholic School System; I don't know about that), and immersion is the most common if not universal method of teaching it. It certainly seems to be far more effective than 'book learning'. It was introduced as an option when I was in high school, but I never took it. I sort of regret that now, because the language-acquisition part of the brain starts to atrophy in the late teens-early twenties. At my age, it's almost impossible to pick up a new language.
Incidentally, French Canadian (Quebecois) French compared to Parisienne French is roughly equivalent to the difference in Spanish between Mexico and Spain. Which sort are you taking?

3. Apr 6, 2005

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Aside from time spent in East L.A., no, but my German Professor did this the first day of my 101 class. He went around the class and asked each person all sorts of questions and waited for a response, while we all just sat there looking completely stupid and lost. At least he seemed to be having a really good time. I started getting really worried though when other people started talking back and I had no idea what the heck anyone was talking about! :uhh: As it turned out, several people were already speaking at a conversational level but they never formerly learned High German. Anyway, he used this technique often and I think it really helped. It was embarrassing at first but you'll get used to it.

4. Apr 6, 2005

### Math Is Hard

Staff Emeritus
Hi Danger, I am pretty sure we are learning Parisian French, but I could be mistaken. I am glad that you mentioned that Canada is officially bilingual. My mom forced my sister to take Spanish (she wanted to take French) but Mom put her foot down and said "no one speaks French anymore and Spanish will be more useful to you since you live in Texas".
I don't agree. I think she should have let her take French. There are plently of French-speaking places in the world.

Ivan - y'know the thing that I thought was interesting about the class is that since we're all embarrassed and all making asses of ourselves, it seemed that we all kind of bonded instantly. I made friends with everyone in class tonight. It was really a lot of fun and we had a good time laughing at ourselves. It's so much different than the harsh competitive atmosphere of my science and math classes.

5. Apr 6, 2005

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
I agree. You're all in the same boat, and it is fun, so it becomes a much more friendly environment.

One other thing that I found amusing. I wasn't quite getting the rhythm until I started cutting loose; almost as if I was making a bit of fun of someone or trying to be comical. When I started really exaggerating the German "sound", Dr. Krauss suddenly smiled; "Ja, Ja. Sehr gut!!" And here I thought I was being a smart a. :rofl:

6. Apr 6, 2005

### Danger

It should help you out to some extent in Louisianna too. Cajun is the remnant of the Quebecois French spoken by the Canadians who moved down there. I don't know if it might have changed too much to be recognizable, though.

7. Apr 6, 2005

### franznietzsche

So it canuck french sounds corrupted, bastardized, and just generally less aurally please than parisian french?

After a long day at work i'm thanking all the gods ever thought of when i get a call from someone actually speaking castellano and not the local...thing...that passes for spanish.

8. Apr 6, 2005

### franznietzsche

She lives in LA, spanish is more useful. THough as i said, if you can even call what is spoken there spanish... :yuck:

9. Apr 6, 2005

### iansmith

Staff Emeritus
Actually, Lousiana french is more of a derivative of the Acadian french rather than quebec french. It is people living in Acadia (New-Brunswick/Nova-Scotia) that were deported.

As far as Quebec french, the accent is more closely related to the french found in Brittany (Bretagne). Quebec french is also more 17th-18th century version and evolved in a different dialect because Quebec was cut out from France for about 150 years.

As far as french immersion goes, I know several people that were in french immersion at high school; however, they did not understand french and I could not have a conversation with them. The thing about language is that if you don't pratice you will lose it.

I personnaly find that learning a new language is easier when you fully immerse yourself inside a community. There is not way out. You only hear and express youself in one language.

10. Apr 6, 2005

### brewnog

English was never spoken in our French lessons at school. Well, not by the teacher anyway. I got an A at GCSE, and am now, urm, fluent. Ahem.

11. Apr 6, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

12. Apr 6, 2005

### Nylex

Man, our teachers in secondary school spoke English quite a bit during French lessons. At A Level though, the lessons were all in French.

13. Apr 6, 2005

### brewnog

Nope, no such joy. The first two weeks of Y7 involved Monsieur Deeks asking us things we just didn't understand. It was like he was speaking in another language. No wait, he was.

I don't know whether it was the idea of learning french in french which was hard, or just because we were distracted by thinking up 'Deeks' jokes all the time. Ah well, happy days.

14. Apr 6, 2005

### marlon

yes very much, i did two years of Italian in evening classes when i was in high school. then at college i lived with a few native-italian speakers. i can assure you, this way of teaching is the most efficient way of learning a foreign language. My Italian is much better then my French, though i studied it for many more years...

marlon

15. Apr 6, 2005

### Kalimaa23

Immersion is the standard in Belgium.
In a Dutch speaking school in Brussels (officially bilingual French/Dutch), children start out learning French by the age of 6, English by the age of 12, and optionally German by the age of 15. All of this in the language that is taught.
I always tought that this was a great system. Sure, it's ackward at the start, but it's the best way to learn.
Only the dead languages, like Latin & Greek, are taught in Dutch.

16. Apr 6, 2005

### marlon

Correct, even in some high-schools you can chose to study Spanish as an extra curriculum.

regards
marlon

17. Apr 6, 2005

### Danger

Ontario school system again! :grumpy: I didn't realize that they were already separate dialects that far back. By 'Quebecois' I meant Canadian style as opposed to French style.
Seems they missed a couple... or did you sneak back in?

PS: You're pretty smart for a Bluenose 'tank'... :rofl:

Absolutely. It's more gutteral and not as 'crisp?'. Think of French with a German accent...

18. Apr 6, 2005

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Uh oh! We've even corrupted Russ! I expect this from SOS, Danger, hypatia, franz, myself, and a few others, but I thought you were the straight-laced one here! :uhh: :rofl:

:yuck::tongue2:

Okay, back on topic (it's really hard, but I'm trying)...

I think immersion is a great way to learn to be conversational in a language, if that's your goal. However, if you need to learn a written language (preparing technical or professional documents, translating, etc), then it's not as good because you don't get the rigor of the grammatical rules you'll need for that purpose.

Personally, I like a little primer in learning to pronounce common sounds, learn the alphabet used, see how the words are written, learn a few lists of vocabulary words to get me started, and then get more of the immersion experience.

19. Apr 6, 2005

### Monique

Staff Emeritus
It seems that I've been missing out.. the only immersion I had was in learning Dutch, logically :tongue:, the mandatory English German and French were all taught from the book: we never spoke a word.

I remember one French examination: it was to test our ability to understand the spoken language while we were never exposed to that and ofcourse they tape the conversation on low-grade band recorder recorded at a railway station

I think the immersion technique is good: if you want to learn a new language, start watching the tv programs. I can understand some Hindi just because of that :tongue2:

20. Apr 6, 2005

### iansmith

Staff Emeritus
I'm not a bluenose I am quebecois. I am from montreal but I'm doing my PhD in Halifax.

As far the Acadian deportation goes, Acadian were allowed to stay as long as "they took an oath of loyality to George II of Great Britain".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Upheaval