On Friday, I sent an email to my subscribers about “How to put the FUN back in learning French”, even if you’ve been learning for years. Because after learning French for a long time, it can seem like the long lists of vocabulary and conjugations are never ending, and it can be depressing and unmotivating!
(PS: If you want to get on my email list and make sure you never miss my bonus lessons and content, click here to sign up!)
Today, we’ll go a step further than that and learn how you can use your passion to help you sound more interesting when you speak French.
Learning goals: This is what you’ll be able to do after watching this lesson
- Use your passion to learn French
- Know how to show interest in a topic when speaking French
- Talk about what you love
Bonjour c’est Géraldine.
Bienvenue sur Comme une Française. C’est parti !
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0) Reminder: How to put the fun back into learning French
→ #1 Have more French conversations
Speaking and listening to French on a regular basis helps improve your memory, and can help you learn new vocabulary and expressions
→ #2 Learn about French culture & art
Art is great! It stirs emotions within us and challenges the mind. It also makes for great conversation topics, and you use it to challenge yourself and keep track of your progress naturally.
→ #3 Master something in French
Pick a subject that interests you and learn to master the language and cultural context in French! You can enter a conversation, share your opinions, ask other people for their thoughts, and have a full adult conversation.
1) Using your passion as a guide
Using your hobby or your passion can be an amazing strategy for learning French.
You can use it as un fil d’Ariane (= a running theme / a key thread / a breadcrumb trail – literally “Ariadne’s thread,” which served as a breadcrumb trail for Theseus) for learning, and it will help you practice your French conversation skills with real French people.
In order to truly practice your conversation skills, you need to have more than short, basic conversations with French people. And the best way to do that is to be interesting and sound interested.
That’s why having a shared interest is such a great way to bond with your French conversation partners, and why your passion can be a good guide for learning.
(As a bonus, talking about something you’re interested in will make you less self-conscious about your mistakes – you’re focused on communication, not on perfect grammar!)
For example, you can learn the French vocabulary and culture around:
- le jardinage – gardening
- le vin – wine
- la cuisine – cooking
- la musique – music
And if your passion is “I love all things French”, then even better! You can jump from topic to topic, like:
- La cuisine française – French cuisine
- L’histoire de France – French history
- La littérature française – French literature
For example, if you love pâtisseries (= French pastries), then you can have fun reading Le Larousse des desserts, de Pierre Hermé – and you can then discuss it with your French teacher, your penpal, or your French neighbour who loves cooking. That’s a great way to learn, practice, build social connections, and have fun!
2) How to show your interest in French
If a French person talks with you about a shared interest, you’ll need to know how to show your interest in the topic – especially to make sure they won’t think like they’re boring you with details.
You can do it simply by saying, for instance:
- Très intéressant. – Very interesting.
- C’est passionnant. – That’s fascinating.
- Je pourrais vous écouter en parler des heures. – I could listen to you talk about it for hours.
- Je trouve ça fou. – I find that crazy, incredible.
- J’aimerais beaucoup en savoir plus sur [Olympe de Gouges]. – I’d really like to know more about [Olympe de Gouges, for instance]
These are all very straightforward ways of showing interest, though.
A more subtle and natural way to show you’re interested (and to feed the conversation) is poser des questions (= to ask questions) ! With relevant questions, you can easily have a fun and interesting conversation!
I made a lesson about this conversation tool in my course Insider French – a program where you’ll get to learn French through the medium of French cuisine.
You’ll learn delicious French culture (and how to enjoy it in your everyday life) while also learning useful French sentences, grammatical structure, vocabulary, slang, and real-life manners.
The course is closed right now, unfortunately. But it reopens next week, for a few days. Click here if you want to be one of the first to know when Insider French reopens.
3) How to talk about what you love
You can also share what you love! Here are sentences and common scripts you can use when speaking in French about the things you’re interested in. Replace the [given examples] with your own favorite thing!
- J’aime beaucoup [l’Auvergne]. – I like [the Auvergne area] a lot.
- Je suis passionné(e) par [la Révolution française]. – I am passionate about [the French Revolution] / I am really into [the French Revolution]
- J’adore [les impressionnistes], surtout [Renoir]. – I love [the impressionist painters], [Renoir] especially.
- Je suis dingue des [romans d’Emile Zola.] – I’m crazy about [Emile Zola novels].
- Je pourrais en parler des heures. – I could talk about it for hours.
- Il me reste beaucoup à apprendre sur ce sujet. – I still have a lot to learn about this topic.
RECAP: What did you learn today?
In summary, here are some expressions and sentences we’ve seen today:
- Un fil d’Ariane. – A breadcrumb trail / A guiding thread
- C’est passionnant. – That’s fascinating / exciting.
- J’aimerais beaucoup en savoir plus sur [Olympe de Gouges]. – I’d love to know more about [Olympe de Gouges.]
- Je suis passionné(e) par [la Révolution française]. – I’m passionate about [the French Revolution]. / I’m really into [the French Revolution]
- J’aime beaucoup [l’Auvergne]. – I like [the Auvergne area] a lot.
Et toi ?
Parle-moi d’une passion que tu pourrais explorer en français.
Tell me about a passion of yours that you could dive into, in French.
For example, you can write: “Je suis fan d’architecture et j’aimerais en savoir plus sur la Fondation Louis Vuitton conçue par l’américain Frank Gehry.” (“I’m a big fan of architecture, and I’d like to know more about the Fondation Louis Vuitton (in Paris), designed by the American architect Frank Gehry.”)
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→ If you enjoyed this lesson (and/or learned something new) – why not share this lesson with a francophile friend? You can talk about it afterwards! You’ll learn much more if you have social support from your friends 🙂
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Allez, salut 🙂