Where to Begin? Aimed towards my pre-teen kids

Ask specific questions about your target languages. Beginner questions welcome!
insanebikerboy
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Where to Begin? Aimed towards my pre-teen kids

Postby insanebikerboy » Sun May 24, 2020 10:44 am

Good morning,
First post here, and a little background, I've traveled the world for work and have a knack for picking up languages where ever I go, but also have a knack of forgetting them as soon as I stop practicing :) My method of "learning" has just been to go out and immerse myself, and it's worked wonderfully.

Work has now brought me to England for several years and my 11 year old daughter has expressed an interest in learning French so I'm going to learn along with her. I'm just lost at where to begin with her. I know the benefit of reading and listening and how it helps, but I would imagine having something structured for her to begin with would benefit her? The nice thing is we can practice with each other instead of just one way learning.

So where should I start? The software offerings seem overwhelming. I have experience with the U.S. DLI system but I have a feeling their offerings are more geared towards military interactions. So, Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, etc?

I've been searching through this website but I'm not sure where it would be best to start.

Thanks!
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Re: Where to Begin? Aimed towards my pre-teen kids

Postby rdearman » Sun May 24, 2020 1:47 pm

If your both learning together then I would suggest watching TV. Peppa pig would be good for both of you since you're beginners. I would get Assimil French with ease to study together. I would also recommend Harry Potter in French.

Don't know if you plan to compete against each other?
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insanebikerboy
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Re: Where to Begin? Aimed towards my pre-teen kids

Postby insanebikerboy » Sun May 24, 2020 3:07 pm

rdearman wrote:If your both learning together then I would suggest watching TV. Peppa pig would be good for both of you since you're beginners. I would get Assimil French with ease to study together. I would also recommend Harry Potter in French.

Don't know if you plan to compete against each other?


Thanks, and yes, she and I are very similar, very competitive, so I know she will want to learn faster than her old man!
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Re: Where to Begin? Aimed towards my pre-teen kids

Postby rdearman » Sun May 24, 2020 3:22 pm

You might want to look for free resources in our Master List of Resources for French.

If you have android phones (or desktop computer) you might want to try Anki flashcards.

If you're in a competion, then give her the same list of resources and see who can learn quicker. Then in 6 months take a dialang test from University of Lancaster and see who knows more. :)
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Re: Where to Begin? Aimed towards my pre-teen kids

Postby smallwhite » Mon May 25, 2020 8:11 am

insanebikerboy wrote:a little background,


Yes, that'd be necessary for a question like this. What is your native language? Would be good if it was indicated in your profile.
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Re: Where to Begin? Aimed towards my pre-teen kids

Postby jeffers » Mon May 25, 2020 10:17 am

In your post you specifically mention reading and listening, and software. A lot of reading and listening is a good thing, but probably only once you have grasped at least the basics. There is very little software based learning for languages which is successful, although one or two options can be useful to support a wider course of study.

I started French because it was the one subject for which I couldn't help my son with his homework, so one summer I got an introductory textbook and we worked on it together. My son didn't really care, so the best things we did were the things we did together, especially paper flash cards! We would take a walk around the estate every evening and I would quiz him on 50 cards and then he would quiz me on 50. In think we ended up with about 400 flashcards.

We started with a book called Fast French, by Elisabeth Smith which covered the basics of French in 6 "weeks" with a light touch on grammar. The book looks to be hard to find with the CD, but I think it was a good start.

I will second Rdearman's suggestion of Assimil New French with Ease, which was where my French really began to take off. My son got through about 8 or 9 chapters, which to be honest is a testament to how interesting Assimil is, because he wasn't motivated to study. I would say that Assimil works best after getting a certain amount of the basics under your belt. You should at least have an idea of how the language works and what to look for. And don't feel enslaved to completing one lesson per day; I read a suggestion that you should do lessons 1-7, then go back to the beginning and do lessons 1-14. I would certainly have benefited from more review but I believed the selling point that you just have to keep moving on with one lesson per day and it will all come to you eventually. The true value of Assimil is that it has a large amount of reading and listening material which starts from the very simple and build up in difficulty gradually.

You mentioned Pimsleur, and we used Pimlseur as well while in the car. It is expensive, but many libraries have Pimsleur CDs you can borrow. I think the greatest value of Pimsleur is that it gets your mouth and tongue used to making the correct sounds, so you should definitely work on it somewhere you can say your parts out loud.

Duolingo is a good support to learning, especially at the early stages, but I recommend using keyboard entry on the web version rather than tile entry on the app. The reason I think Duolingo is good is because you have to correctly type different verb endings that sound different, e.g. "tu vas" and "il va". A few users on this forum don't like Duolingo at all, but many of us use it regularly.

On the other hand, my experience with Rosetta Stone is that it is a pretty poor course because each language is a cookie cutter copy of the other languages. (And I suspect someone will claim this of Duolingo, but in fact each Duolingo course is uniquely created around the specific language).

You mentioned reading and listening, and as I said above, I think you should have a good grasp of the basics before doing much of this. However, I think rdearman's suggestion of using Peppa Pig is a good thing right from the start. Initially it will sound like a melange of noise, but it will give you a feel for the language, and as you study French by other means you will have those "euraka!" moments where that word you studied today appears on Peppa Pig.
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Re: Where to Begin? Aimed towards my pre-teen kids

Postby Adrianslont » Mon May 25, 2020 10:42 am

rdearman wrote:You might want to look for free resources in our Master List of Resources for French.

If you have android phones (or desktop computer) you might want to try Anki flashcards.

If you're in a competion, then give her the same list of resources and see who can learn quicker. Then in 6 months take a dialang test from University of Lancaster and see who knows more. :)

OP, note there is an iOS anki app, too - but it is expensive.

If you have iPhones, you can try before you buy with the free desktop version or use it in the browser for free on your phones.

And note you only have to buy the app once and can use family sharing.
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Re: Where to Begin? Aimed towards my pre-teen kids

Postby mattf789 » Mon May 25, 2020 10:57 am

insanebikerboy wrote:Good morning,
First post here, and a little background, I've traveled the world for work and have a knack for picking up languages where ever I go, but also have a knack of forgetting them as soon as I stop practicing :) My method of "learning" has just been to go out and immerse myself, and it's worked wonderfully.

Work has now brought me to England for several years and my 11 year old daughter has expressed an interest in learning French so I'm going to learn along with her. I'm just lost at where to begin with her. I know the benefit of reading and listening and how it helps, but I would imagine having something structured for her to begin with would benefit her? The nice thing is we can practice with each other instead of just one way learning.

So where should I start? The software offerings seem overwhelming. I have experience with the U.S. DLI system but I have a feeling their offerings are more geared towards military interactions. So, Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, etc?

I've been searching through this website but I'm not sure where it would be best to start.

Thanks!


Kids love apps and games, so I'd recommend Memrise. I've seen a 5 year old use it and the way they imitated the foreign accent was amazing. You might have to look through the courses for one that's appropriate, as some of the language in the official courses isn't suitable for children.
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Re: Where to Begin? Aimed towards my pre-teen kids

Postby Adrianslont » Mon May 25, 2020 11:19 am

insanebikerboy, I love this idea of learning with your daughter - not all kids and parents would be up for it but it sounds like you two are.

I “kind of” learned some Indonesian with my daughter but she is older and actually studied it at uni - I’m basically self taught with 1-1 tuition on several occasions when in country. Still there might be something useful in our experience.

We have travelled together in Indonesia and have learned from each other during those experiences - I guess you and your kids intend to travel to France together?

During those first trips she was less confident than me even if our levels were similar - I was more fearless about using Indonesian even if our driver or server spoken tourist English. She would switch to English or start in English. I used Indonesian to negotiate vegetarian dishes for her, I gave directions to taxi drivers and engaged people in conversation. Even though I am generally reserved, she was still a shy teenager.

Then while she was studying there on exchange I visited her and she automatically took the lead in restaurants and rideshares and with others when we were together! I picked up the more idiomatic ways of doing things that she had learned. We exchanged observations on using the language and negotiating the culture. And we got a tutor together. It was all fun.

I second rdearmans suggestion of Assimil for giving structure to your learning and Peppa pig for fun. Harry Potter might be for the future, though.

And I liked Jeffers approach with the flashcards.

And Mattf789’s suggestion of Memrise sounds good - I would search out decks with a tourism orientation if you are planning trips.
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mattf789
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Re: Where to Begin? Aimed towards my pre-teen kids

Postby mattf789 » Mon May 25, 2020 6:53 pm

rdearman wrote:If your both learning together then I would suggest watching TV. Peppa pig would be good for both of you since you're beginners. I would get Assimil French with ease to study together. I would also recommend Harry Potter in French.

Don't know if you plan to compete against each other?


I can imagine Assimil would be ideal for two people learning the same language, as they can roleplay the conversations.
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Official Memrise French 1-7: 3100 / 3100
Assimil French: 11 / 113
Overall French Memrise Progress: 3323 / 6000


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