Since I have been learning French in France I have been trying to find ways of making writing exercise more fun. I like doing standard writing exercises like the ones we do on our intensive French course for adults at the EasyFrench School in Montpellier, these after all are very applicable and will be how I do most of my writing generally. However, after doing a few of these exercises in a row it can get a little stale and I am an ambitious student and want to keep doing a lot of work outside of the class room. I’ve tried approaching my French studies with the mentality of just powering through and working hard which I find works for a little while. It can be a little hard to sustain though and I am interested in long term development. I’m hoping to work in France or in a French speaking country when I’m older and I want to continue my learning over a long period.
This is why I think it is so important to find fun ways engaging, interacting and playing with the language. If I make learning French in France fun for myself and find different ways to keep it fresh I can keep up a high work-rate for longer.
I have found that writing songs is one way to achieve that. I have been wanting to try writing songs for a long time and did some very light toe dipping once upon a time but never found the time to get into it. Here I had the opportunity to finally get back on the train whilst at the same time giving my French learning a completely new dynamic.
French Immersion Means Playing and Experimenting
First of all, you can and should pick a topic that interests you. This not going to be rigid systematic learning, you are going to be fluidly exploring areas and learning the translations of words you might rarely come across. With song writing there are not many rules, just different mechanisms which you can try and work in and which can teleport you to places completely removed from where you started. Whatever you pick you make it interesting for yourself, stay loose with it and you’ll soon see how playful the process can be.
You may be thinking you have never done this kind of writing before so how can you start in another language!? Well fear not, you don’t have to have fully mastered a language before starting to write in this form, it can actually be your route to mastering it. If you begin with a few simple devices that we all know like, rhyming for example, the process of trying to find words that rhyme with some previous lyrics is a great process and not one you get that much when writing in different forms. You will repeat the sound again and again and see how it sounds from word to word. You start to learn the underlying composite sounds rather than the word itself and this can make you a more proficient reader and speaker.
Also, searching for synonyms is very useful too. Say you want to put in a certain word with a certain meaning but the one that first comes to mind doesn’t work with the preceding line, then you can go into your dictionary or online to see if there are any synonyms that can be fit in. If not, look for synonyms of the word from the preceding line or try and arrange them a little differently.
Do you see how this will help you with learning French in France? It becomes a bit of a puzzle that you have to solve by playing with the words and that is just with one mechanism. If you try your hand at alliteration for example, this is a different way of manipulating the words and when you think about the rhythm it poses another way.
Applying a song writing process of any kind to these mechanisms will help you in your quest to study French in France and I really recommend giving it a go. You can even use subjects that you have been working on in your intensive French immersion lessons. It won’t feel like work and you will really expand your abilities, what’s the worst that could happen!?