I have just come to the end of my first week after changing from B2 to C1 level for my intensive French immersion course for adults here in Montpellier in the beautiful south of France. Since I made the change I have had many of the students at the Easy French Immersion School in France come and ask me what I thought of the difference as they were a bit apprehensive and concerned about whether they were ready. I thought it would make for useful reading for any of you in a similar situation or for thinking into the future, these of course are just my experiences and it will be different for each person. Still, I found it interesting to hear about peoples’ experiences before I made the move so I hope it helps.
The Grammar Challenge in My French Classes
I have had a week of extremes at the Easy French Language School, especially with the grammar we’ve been learning this week. The first few days of the week we spent working on a couple of grammatical concepts that were fairly straight-forward.
First it was the placement of adjectives. The first thing that struck me was that this was not something that was going to massively affect my ability to communicate. I don’t think if I was speaking to someone who was not a native English speaker I would be that confused if they placed an adjective on the wrong side of a word and I hoped this would be the same for locals here in Montpellier when talking to students like me who were here to learn French in France. The rules were fairly easy to follow as well, I learnt that some of it has to do with length of the adjective; so for example if the noun being used is one syllable and the adjective is longer it will in general be placed after the verb. For short nouns that are used frequently (jeune, beau, bon, petit, vieux, grand, gros) they are in general placed before the noun. By the way, you are probably all too aware but you’re going to hear the phrase ‘in general’ a lot when learning French in France because there are always exceptions; sometimes frustrating, sometimes fun, always a fact.
After that we moved onto pronouns in our intensive French class for adults. This involved honing our skills at differentiating when a verb was acting directly or indirectly on a noun. I really enjoyed this and have always liked stuff in this area as it involves thinking about how verbs and nouns interact so you are thinking about situations in a theoretical way which I haven’t really done since I was a kid. This has more of an importance with regard to being understood by the locals during your French language stay in Montpellier but still it seemed like it would be easy to clarify.
So, this left me feeling like from now on it was just going to be minor tweaks and perfecting things I had already covered a bit at the B1 and B2 levels of my intensive language course at the Easy French Immersion School. I was wrong however as after that we started working on the concordance of time when reporting conversations. I can’t lie; this was tough. There were so many tables and the use of auxiliary verbs that just as I thought I was approaching an epiphany on one form we started discussing another and my near-understanding evaporated. However, after a long stint in front of the computer with my dictionary on hand and peering over examples and just trying to use it again and again it finally sunk in and I got that proud feeling that comes after understanding a tricky concept.
All things considered it was a great week at the Easy French Language School in Montpellier. There were some things that were simple and getting them locked down made me feel like I was really getting to a good level in my French classes. There were enough challenges though to keep me down to earth. I have still got a long way to go while learning French in France and I’m sure my immersion course has many surprises in store for me but with perseverance I really think I can get there and more importantly I think you can too!