March 2019 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: For free e-books try vousnousils. There you'll find 150 French literature classics and books translated into French. As this site is a resource for French school teachers, the books are ranked according to French school level. If you are not a confident French reader, you might look to start with books appropriate for école primaire level readers, for example.
News from the school...
Things are already in full swing here at French Residential, with our first course of the year taking place in early March. We have introduced some changes based on your suggestions. These include 'real-life' roleplays, where we rehearse a set of tasks in class and then go out to visit the shop keepers and locals so that you can practise on real French people! We're happy to say that the Gourdonnais have been very gamely playing along and we will be making this a permanant part of our residential courses.
Also starting this year, each course student will be presented with a certificate at the end of the week, stating their French language level. The awarded grade is in accordance with the CERFL (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) criteria and will be given as an overall appreciation of each student's ability, as assessed by two tutors.
As well as the certificate, our 'going away' pack also includes a group photo, so everyone can preserve those precious memories!
Find out more about a typical day on the residential course...
Listening to French
Listening tip: If you are looking for more of a listening challenge, we recommend watching French documentaries on YouTube. In the video's settings it is possible to slow down the audio and also turn on automatically generated subtitles. It's also a good way of learning about something new! We recommend Secrets d'Histoire as a good start.
What's new in Gourdon...
« Il était une fois... » ("Once upon a time...") is an exhibition of 'before' photos to be displayed in Gourdon's Jardins de la Butte from the end of this month. The initiative of a group of local residents, these formerly abandonned spaces in the medieval quarter have, since 2012, been transformed into a series of themed gardens.

A series of 16 photos, strategically placed around the gardens, shows just what a dramatic transformation these spaces have undergone. The garden volunteers hope that the exhibition will encourage others to come and help, in these free to visit public gardens. So why not lend a hand when you come to Gourdon? It's a great way to meet the locals and to practise your French!
Find out more on the association's website vertusvertes.com.
Writing tip: Improve your French vocabulary by putting the French names of objects in your home or office on post-it notes, then stick them to the objects themselves. Don't forget the le or la (noun articles), as these are best learned at the same time. Why not use two different colours of post-it: one for masculine and one for feminine? Don't stop labelling until you can name every last object with ease!
Speaking tip: Set yourself a 'real-life roleplay', like those we do on our courses. Choose a hotel, restaurant or museum and read up to see what's on offer. Then think up three or four questions, (avoiding 'yes or no' type) and practise out loud. Once you have the hang of it, call the place and ask away! Do repeat the questions if you don't understand the answer first time, but don't speak English!
Recent blogs:
This delicious cheese from Rocamadour is one of the region's gastronomic delights not to be missed...
Perfect your French punctuation with our handy guide...
We all know that French is the language of love, cooking, wine, art, music and fashion. But who speaks it nowadays?
See more blog articles...
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