November 2018 Newsletter

Learn French with an intensive, friendly language course in the Lot & Dordogne area of France!
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Giles at the school
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
Reading French
Reading tip: BDs (bandes-dessinées) or graphic novels are extremely popular in France and a great number of them are aimed at adult readers. Dialogue-rich and accompanied with illustrations, these "comic books" can also be found for free online. Try Amilova and search by genre (select the French flag in the top right-hand corner).
News from the school...
A great big MERCI to the 40 people who took part in our satisfaction survey, launched this summer. With the last course of the year just finished, we are busy analysing the results... We are keen to know what we are getting right and what we can improve on, so we gave respondents 9 questions covering all aspects of the course, to which they could reply anonymously.
When asked which French skills you had most improved on, course students were most likely to have improved their ability to speak French by the end of the week with us, closely followed by listening comprehension level-pegging with French pronunciation. Cultural appreciation came in close behind.
You gave us an average of 4.6 out of 5 on the main aspects of the course (morning tuition, lunches, outings, accomodation, organisation) and an overwhelming 87% of you said our afternoon outings are what set us apart most from the competition.
We are extremely pleased to learn that 94% of respondents would recommend our French courses to others.
However, we are not resting on our laurels. We have listened to your suggestions on what we can improve. Amongst several changes we are making, our 2019 courses will be incorporating real-life roleplays out in the town, to improve your immersive language experience. Watch this space!
Did you mean to improve your French in 2018, but are running out of time? Follow our French Residential advent calendar throughout December by liking us on Facebook or Twitter. Each day we will unveil a Christmas-themed video. We have songs, comedy, recipes and more to get you in the mood for all things festive, à la française !
For our 2019 courses, students will have the option to stay in a bijou loft apartment above the school, in the medieval quarter of town. Ideal for one person or a couple, there is a main living space with a kitchen and a separate bedroom. As with our other cottages, rentals can be organized with Georgina through the Petit Gite website.
Listening to French
Listening tip: For good-quality French TV shows that you can watch from your computer, try Arte TV. Showing mostly cultural programmes, Arte also broadcasts popular TV shows, so there should be something for everyone. Select to watch live streamed TV or browse the back catalogue by category to find something that fits your interests.
What's new in Gourdon...
On 11th November at 11 o'clock, the Gourdonnais collected at the Square du Souvenir to commemorate the Armistice and pay their respects to the 170 soldiers from Gourdon, who lost their lives during the Grande Guerre between 1914 and 1918. One hundred years on, the list of names, some appearing more than once, rings with the names of families still living in the town today.
On this list is the young Georges Pons, author of a collection of poems composed at the Front during the First World War. Published in 1932, over time this book has been completely forgotten. A stock of unsold books has recently been found by a local book seller.
You can discover an extract here.
Writing tip: some online translation tools can give dubious results and are best avoided. If you feel the need to reach for help, we recommend Linguee's new DeepL resource, which is far the best one we have seen. In the proposed translation it is possible to click on a word for a drop-down menu of alternatives, so you can tweak it to your taste.
Speaking tip: too shy to speak in French? Sing it instead! French Rescue's Youtube channel has a good collection of recent and old French songs with handy subtitles, so you can sing along, word perfect. A great, fun way to practise your pronunciation, the additional English subtitles will help you to learn a few new turns of phrase. All together now...!
Recent blogs:
It is a French tradition that the Beaujolais Nouveau wines are released on the 3rd Thursday every November. In 2018, that means today!
On November 1st, the French will be marking "la Toussaint" or All Saints' Day, widely known as a day for remembering the dead...
It's saffron harvest time here in the Lot. Known in France as "l'or rouge", at 30€ per gram "safran" is the most expensive spice there is.
See more blog articles...
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