October 2017 Newsletter

Learn French with an intensive, friendly language course in the Lot & Dordogne area of France!
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Welcome to the French Residential newsletter, with language tips, news from the school and some of what's happening in Gourdon... Enjoy your read!

Giles Murray
Speaking tip: Get busy on YouTube!
You might not get to speak French every day, so between times use YouTube to build your repertoire of those little idiomatic expressions that make conversation easier.
A great place to start is: Français avec Pierre
What's new in Gourdon...
Plus beaux détours
Great news for Gourdon - way out in front as the most visited destination in 2017 by users of Les Plus Beaux Détours de France guide and ranked as one of the places that visitors are happiest to have discovered through the guide!
The Plus Beaux Détours guide figures 100 of Frances most attractive destinations with between 2000 and 20,000 inhabitants. Each destination is assessed personally by a Michelin judge in order to make it onto the list.
Well done Gourdon!
Over the winter season, the southern section of the boulevard is to undergo a major revamp, resulting in extra-wide pavements, new café terraces and extensive new planting.
As the boulevard is on the site of the old dry moat that used to ring the medieval town, archeologists were called in to do a series of sample digs (sondages archéologiques), which have just been completed. With their findings safely documented, the works will be starting any day now. We can't wait to see the new semi-pedestrianized Gourdon!
Listening tip: Slow it down!
You’ve probably noticed that listening to French can be quite demanding! A great way to practise is to listen at 70-80% of normal speed, which gives your poor brain more time to process . . . You’ll need a media player that will allow you to slow down audio or video files without changing the pitch. We like VLC Media Player as it’s small, easy to download, plays everything and is free!
News from the school...
Course dates
Fresh on the website: the 2018 course dates are now up and we are now taking bookings for courses from April to October!
We have also created a new super-intensive course offering one-on-one tuition to students wishing to come outside of course dates, or who wish to follow on from a course with some extra, tailor made tuition.
There are a few other changes on the site, including a resources page, news page and a blog, so visit the site again soon!
Word of mouth
There’s nothing quite like word-of-mouth, which is why we've been getting up to date with our social media presence. Meanwhile, one of our students has been spreading the word "old school" style, which goes to show that sometimes the old ways are best.
Jennifer & Gerard discovered us thanks to a mystery person putting one of our flyers in their letter box. We had a great course together last week and would like to say thank you to whoever it was in Wahroonga, Australia who has been pounding the pavements for us!
Reading tip: Start seeing double!
If you like reading, read as much as possible in French. Avoid long tedious novels, but try short stories, which are far less daunting! And the trick is to read them as parallel text, i.e. French on the left hand page, the English version on the right.
We’d recommend the French stories in the New Penguin Parallel Texts series.
Writing tip: Context is everything!
Generating authentic comprehensible written French is hard: using Google Translate gives at best mixed results and translating one word at a time is fraught with danger.
A decent dictionary will get you a long way, but there are also web sites which can help you write French with confidence. Our favourite is Linguee because it gives so many examples of the word you’re interested in being used in a sentence. When you’ve got the context you can use the word with confidence!
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