Saturday, April 3, 2010

Parlaying the parlez-ing

For those franglaphones like me, who mostly study independently, hoping to pick up what we can while surrounded by the English-speaking world, it’s necessary to make opportunities to speak French and to hear it spoken.

On ne peut pas accentuer trop l’importance de la conversation française d’apprendre plus la langue.

Groups of French speakers can thrive anywhere…just ask my pals in Spokane, a place one doesn’t expect to find several active sub-communities of native speakers and learners!

Here, at least a key ingredient to a successful group (in my humble opinion) is ownership by the members and a sense that the goal is to have fun. For some events like parties, where spouses or significant others typically join in, there’s naturally more English spoken, but still plenty of opportunity for asking les vrais français de discuter la culture.

In addition, it’s very helpful for most people to have a weekly gathering for plain old conversation, with the goal to keep it all in French. Even that does better with an element of fun, food, or a bit of wine, however, to grease the wheels.

Though, in my experience here over the last year, a leader for the group is not required, a couple of passionate people and at least a few participatory native or advanced speakers make a group way better!

For those who help coordinate group activities, encouraging volunteers to execute their own ideas, and taking a few pictures to share from events serves to solidify the community of friends and help people see and remember how much they enjoyed the event. After one recent lunch, for example, I posted about seven pictures on a group Web site and had no fewer than seven comments about the photos and requests to repost them.

Please share your favorite strategies, or questions, in the comments area to guide future the weekly posts, and begin to look for France planning discussions starting next week, as I begin to gear up for operation Gonzo Franglaphone.

A très bientôt!

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