Is there a way to slow the speaker down? This is my most challenging aspect of learning French...understanding what is being said.

Phyllis

Kwiziq community member

7 January 2019

2 replies

Is there a way to slow the speaker down? This is my most challenging aspect of learning French...understanding what is being said.

This question relates to:
French dictation exercise "Marie en France (A1)"

Chris

Kwiziq community member

7 January 2019

7/01/19

I empathise with you, Phyllis. French is a language with less than usual auditory distinction between words. There are way too many words and combination of words which sound exactly the same. So you have to be continually aware of the context in order to be able to parse the sound into some kind of coherent meaning. The only way to do this is to immerse yourself in it. Don't cramp up over it, it'll come eventually. When you least expect it.

James

Kwiziq community member

14 January 2019

14/01/19

For me even immersion is not helping.  I have been living in Paris for 3 years doing the normal repetitive daily activities (grocery shopping, ordering at a cafe, etc) and I still do not fully understand what they are saying.  For example, at the grocery checkout, all I hear is "blah blah blah blah sac?".  Although I understand that they are asking me if I need a sack, they are already 5 to 7 words into their statement before I pickup on what they are attempting to communicate to me.   It is much worse when they try to get me to use some of my accumulated euros on my carte fidelite.   After 3 years I cannot understand one word of what they say when they ask if I want to use my benefit on my carte.   They actually get mad when I don't understand and I just say "non, merci".  They show me their terminal or write down how much I have accumulated.   So although I understand their intention, I still do not understand what they are saying.  I can only fully understand some of the checkout people (1 out of 10) as they speak slowly and clearly.   Same thing at a cafe.  They are always 5 to 7 words into what they are saying before I catch on that they are even there to take the order.   I speak just enough french blurbs to get the job done.   Listening to the audio here is slower than real life in Paris but is is still mostly unintelligible.  I will have to resort to supplement with other sources like French Today or French Together where they offer slow speeds with clarity along with higher speed options.   Even when being taught by a french tutor, using smaller and shorter recording playbacks did not do the trick as it was still at full speed.  They had to explain things to me in english just to get through the session.  Also, the french tutors can be very impatient when dealing with someone they cannot explain things to in french.  My advice to getting french lessons in France is that most tutors cannot effectively handle students that do not already speak/listen at an A2 level already.  So if you are not already at A2 going on to B1 level, you need to learn more French in the home country first.  Currently, Kwiziq has me as an A1 but I am extremely uncomfortable with anything beyond A0.  I still have 2 years to get to an A2 level to get my residency carte and being immersed is hurting more than helping.  

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