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Bonjour, and welcome to what I hope is an eclectic mix of French content that reflects my day to day encounters with news, commentary and learning materials, mainly from a variety of francophone sources.
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Learning a second language
I posted a video a short while ago from Comme une Française that dealt with the importance of understanding French culture when learning to speak French. In this longer video Géraldine considers the difference between learning a second language and learning to speak your native language as a child.

She then explains how cultural norms influence the use of language, and how ignorance of these norms will prevent you from becoming a French speaker who can fully relate to French people. You are at risk of becoming a 'talking dictionary', well versed in vocabulary and grammar, but lacking the vital cultural framework to allow you to truly communicate.

I rate this as one of the best videos that I've seen on this subject, and highly recommend it for anybody wishing to learn to speak French. At the heart of the matter is the fact that spoken French and written French are effectively two different languages. This is why people struggle when trying to apply what they've learnt from a French course to day to day communications.
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