Nov 112015

marqueursverveSavez vous que dans grand nombre d’autres pays, le terme ‘VO’ n’existe pas. Certains films ou séries sont traduits, d’autres sont diffusés dans la langue originale, mais il n’y a pas de terme officielle comme en France. On entend souvent dire que dans les pays du Nord, scandinaves ou Benelux, on parle plein de langues. Oui, en effet. Une raison, bien prouvée, est la télévision dès le plus jeune age. Je ne prône pas l’utilisation de la télé à tout bout de champ pour tous les enfants, mais quitte à leur laisser regarder des films et des séries, autant en profiter pour travailler l’oreille, l’écoute et accessoirement le vocabulaire et la grammaire.

Aujourd’hui, la plupart des chaines télévision ont l’option VO. Vous pouvez sélectionner l’option ‘Toujours montrer en VO’.  C’est génial! De plus, Netflix est disponible en France et offre un grand choix de séries en VO. Les séries sont un excellent moyen pour se plonger dans un monde imaginaire. Il y en a pour tous les ages et tous les goûts : Riverdale, Pretty Little Liars, Modern Family, ou les plus classiques Breaking Bad and Once upon a time.

C’est difficile au début, on a l’impression de ne rien comprendre. Si vous avez vraiment du mal, regardez une première fois en français pour comprendre l’histoire. Puis une seconde fois VOST, puis une troisième fois en VO sans les sous-titres. C’est fastidieux, mais je vous assure que ça marche! Planifiez plusieurs mois, c’est comme la gym! Il faut être assidu et faire un travail régulier sur le long terme. Une fois que vous êtes pris dans la série, c’est une manière facile de faire des progrès.

Si vous essayez, dites-moi ce que vous en pensez 😉

 November 11, 2015  Posted by  Language Acquisition, Tips & Opinions No Responses »
Nov 112015

marqueursvejaLast summer, we were on holidays in Italy and our three children aged 11, 13 and 14 headed straight for the playground. They are past the age where they play on swings, but they have learned that sometimes kids their age like to hang out there. They also learned that a few words can go a long way in communicating.

While my husband and I were enjoying a glass of rosé on the terrace of our rented bungalow, with a large pan of pasta simmering on the kitchen burner, the children came running up all talking at the same time “can we go to our friends’ house? They invited us for dinner? We just met them at the playground.”

We kind of said “yes, I suppose so…. what about the pasta…?” but they were gone, shouting their ten words of Italian with exaggerated enthusiasm.

Football works just as well, or beach ball… the main thing is that the children are left alone and ‘forced’ to communicate. The exchanges they have in those moments are more beneficial than 10 hours of classroom work with the best teacher on the planet.

Like everything, it’s a bit difficult in the beginning. They need to be encouraged. Naturally, some children have more outgoing personalities, others are more shy. If you can find a way to engineer it that they are sitting in a sandbox or on a swing or with a beach ball, next to some other children of the same age, give them an encouraging smile… and nip off to the car or something. Yes, I have done it many many times and it doesn’t always work, it’s not always easy to find the playground, etc but when you do find it and it works: then it’s fantastic and well worth the effort 😉

Do you have any similar experiences to share?



 November 11, 2015  Posted by  Language Acquisition, Tips & Opinions No Responses »
Nov 112015

marqueursvejaWatch movies all the time! Movies, series, old series like Friends or The Mentalist, new ones like Modern Family, Outnumbered, or Breaking Bad.

The ideal way to absorb a new language is by listening. If you can’t go to the country, then at least take advantage of Hollywood from the comfort of your sofa. Ideally, watch movies or series that you already know. Watch without subtitles, in half an hour bits. Repeat as often as you can, before you get completely saturated with the story… The listening helps your ears with pronunciation, while at the same time your brain processes grammar and vocabulary.


Us language teachers can immediately hear children, or students of any age, who have had some exposure to the language they’re studying. If they haven’t actually been to the country, then it’s quite clear that they watch a lot of television in the said language. It really helps…! It really works!

Let me know if you’ve tried it, what worked best for you.

 November 11, 2015  Posted by  Language Acquisition, Tips & Opinions No Responses »
Nov 112015

marqueursvejaIt seems strange to learn a language without translating. Yet, it is possible. It’s a question of training our brain.

In the beginning, with the first newly-acquired words, we obviously translate. But I try to encourage my students to think in their new language, as early on as possible. To explain this to any audience, any age, any level, I draw a cat, a sunshine and a happy face. I then write ‘chat’, ‘soleil’ and ‘heureux’ above each drawing in their native language. Above that line, I write the translation.


For the word in the middle, the brain sees the yellow ball in the sky, which it knows is a ‘soleil’. It then looks it up into his translation-database for languages being acquired and sees the result is ‘sun’. However, if you skip this phase and tell your brain to put ‘sun’ directly above the representation of a yellow ball in the sky (at this point I erase the line of L1 words), your brain will get used to juggling in that manner….. and as you acquire more language, the whole process will go faster and faster.


This way of learning of course doesn’t work for everything, nor can it be applied to complex topics such as the subjunctive or modal forms. However, I believe it helps the brain get into the habit of switching from one language to the other faster.

Do you agree?


 November 11, 2015  Posted by  Language Acquisition, Tips & Opinions No Responses »