Suggestions on improving my French language


I’m new to the group apologies, if the post appears to be a repeated request, having read a few other posts!

I would like some information or suggestions on improving my French language.

While I have attended language courses both here in France and the UK. I have found the teaching methods used hasn’t suited me having dyslexia.

I then come away feeling more deflated, and frustrated, which doesn’t help me with my dyslexia.

I’m not one for giving up and always up for a challenge!

I did contact one local group here on the Island, runs English classes, thinking maybe I could volunteer some help in return for French lessons, unfortunately no one bothered to return my calls or replied to my emails.

I am now at the stage I understand the language a lot more than I can speak, which is frustrating, I want to progress to more than just oui and non.

In the mean time I continue listening to radio, and TV.

I’m currently using the babble app, which I found helpful, but would like to put it into practice and build on my confidence using the language.

Apologies for the long post.

If anyone had similar experiences, I would appreciate some hints or advice on where I could go?



I taught a couple of French lessons last summer and this summer. Not really my field, but the guy seemed to enjoy it.

We filmed them and put them on Youtube.

Some of the information i found online might be worth

Here is a free resource link list

Hope this helps!

Bonjour Arnaud,

Thank you for taking the time to my post. I’m living in Oléron, Dep 17. The nearests cities would be La Rochelle, or Rochefort. I will contact the Universities to see if they do offer any lessons.

I agree conversational sessions is what I need to start doing.

Hello Maureen, thank you for replying to my post. There are groups learning English, unfortunately no one contacted me back. I will try again and look a bit further than just Oléron. Thanks also for the links. Regards Steve

Paul, thank you for your suggestion on Duolingo, I’ll have a go.

Bonjour Steve!

Sorry to hear that no one bothered to return your calls.

Where about do you live?

I am asking the question because in some areas in France, Universities provide adapted lessons, in evening sessions.

Conversations sessions as suggested are also a good way to practice your French even though that's not proper lessons, with appropriate methodology.

Best regards


Hello Steve,

do you have any groups of local French people who are learning English in your area? I live in Provence, and I help to run such a group, and I think that it would help you greatly, because our group explore sentences and words, and we all benefit from the English and French spoken. The group chose a topic, we meet for 2 hours once a week, and we discuss the topic, normally, everyday subjects.

My advice to you is learn to be a good listener, you will find in the English French groups, the French are happy to help you understand simple responses to questions and you will improve greatly.

I have a friend,Kristen Espernaisse, she is an American writer, she has a web site French word a day, Her husband also has a web site, Jean Marc produces wine honey and olives.

she is married to a French man, and her site does have an option to listen to phrases that she has on the web site. Give it a go, and if you can find a French group who are learning English, I think this is the way forward for you, because of the results we have seen with our English friends who contribute to our group, they all say they have learned quite a lot, and it has been made easy and fun for all of us.

Good luck, I hope this helps you. Go to Kristen's site and have a listen to the phrases that have been added, it is free to join, and I am sure it will help you.


Hi Steve,

Having tried Michel Thomas and Babble, I have to say that Duolingo is by far the best I've come across so far. Very intuitive with a good mix of spoken, written and observational choice - and don't worry there are no time limits so you can take your time in answering. Also because its free there are no pushy emails trying to sell you add-ons. It works on your laptop and tablet or phone and seems to sync much better than Babble did.

Give it a go, its free so it cant hurt.

Good luck with your goals.


hi Simon, i said that Only in context of dyslexia for Steve and my own expérience with neural effects of brain injury/short term mémory.

those without motor neurone problems Will of course find 'using books easier and more helpful as well.

its Also good to have internet back again after weeks without.

Jonathan, thank you suggestions. If I attend a lecture in French, I would probably need to go and lie down in a darkroom to recover! However, I have known to listen to the radio on some topical discussions on occasion. While I’m in the potting shed!
I’m rather fortunate here on Oléron, the population is rather low so even in the supermarkets, people have time to chat!

Theo, thanks for the replying to my post. -Steve

Steve, you will learn &I improve your French. You what it. And, this is one of the best postings here on SFN! (I learned French many years ago in a school for “naughty boys”, in a snobbish interna. Then I never used the language for many years while working, only to find out the French had changed so much, like German) Can’t give u a wise idea, maybe when you are in the countryside, try to get engaged in what’s going on in your very close community. You really want to participate, integrate, so there are French people around you who will help you, but not like the language trainer. Bone chance!

Agreed - and it does so much depend where you start from and what you want to achieve. Most teachers (not just language teachers) want you to learn what they want to teach rather than teach you what you want to learn.

Not at all Jonathan and your points are totally valid. I'm sceptical simply because over the years I have seen a few teachers (for want of a better word!) of French as a foreign language literally fleecing expats who rarely seem to make much progress. A couple of affairs as well!!

Some have spent hundreds and hundreds of euros which would have been better spent down the local bar, salle des fêtes, dance hall, pilates class etc having a completely normal mingle - like we all did in the playground as kids :-)

Hi Elaine, thanks for the link. I’ll give a go.

Well, it depends on the teacher of course - with Natasha not a verb table or any text book in sight.

Listening to lectures only works, of course, if one is interested in the subject, just as TV programmes are only interesting if you happen to enjoy what they are doing.

Alternatively you can say I am a pseud and best ignored!

So Shirley - as your opener you said : 'Speaking is better than trying to stuff yourself up with a load of written info'

Then what did you do ? Just saying......:-)

Jeepers Jonathan - sounds absolutely horrific! :-) I'm not so sure about finding 'someone with a qualification for teaching French as a foreign language''s all very well until they bring out the verb tables - then you simply must shoot them on the spot! Did you ever use verb tables when you learnt English .......- well did you ?

A couple near to me have had 1-1 / 1-2 lessons from such a 'qualified' person for the last 8 years and can just about manage to order a couple of drinks. Heck knows what they've been doing in the lessons but they do have pages and pages of neatly written out verb conjugations! Neither good nor ornament.

And as for - 'Listen to an academic lecture for 90 minutes' ??? I'd rather stick pins in my eyes - but then I have the attention span of a gnat and could probably only manage 20 mins of anything in any language!!

Hi Shirley, thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate your time. The suggestion using a français/ anglais dictionary, good idea. Merci.