How to maintain your French brain: a daily routine for Francophiles
We all know that feeling. You’ve just spent a number of weeks in France and your French is on point. You’re serving up argot with a side of subjunctive and lashings of enfin, bon bah, alors, and bref. It feels good.
That is, until you return to the Anglophone motherland. All of a sudden ‘exposition’ is ‘exhibition’ and ‘sensible’ is ‘sensitive’ and you cannot simply brush off these muddlements by saying “oh ha ha, that’s how you say it in French” without being looked at like you are some pretentious being who pours Dom Perignon over their breakfast cereal.
Eh oui, this syndrome that could only be described as ‘French Brain’ can exclusively be spoken of with other understanding Francophiles… and thus, slowly but surely French brain backs off, until finally someone bumps into you on the bus and you instinctively say “sorry” instead of “pardon”.
Nonobstant! There are a number of ways to keep French brain in check throughout the busy working day that will help you maintain, to some extent, the level of fluency you gained while in France.
Here is a little daily programme to help you out…
7h: Watch or listen to the French News
In you’re in Australia, SBS televises the French news at 5am and 8.40am, however if waking up before 7am is juste pas possible (or you’re elsewhere in the world) it is easily accessible online via their On Demand service. Alternatively, jump onto iTunes and subscribe to the SBS French radio podcasts; you can listen to them at your leisure while eating your petit dej.
For those in the UK or US…
9h: Listen to French music while commuting
So Zaz has just released a new album entitled ‘Paris’, and every time you listen to it, your train ticket turns into a snazzy passe Navigo and all of a sudden you’re on ligne 6 between Passy and Dupleix. Fact. What’s more, listening to French music will test your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation.
Have a listen to the likes of Emilie Simon, Berry, Melanie Pain, Féfé, Loane, Julien Doré, Coeur de Pirate, Stromae, Joyce Jonathan, BB Brunes, Carla Bruni, Olivia Ruiz and Rose, or check out our French Music Monday articles for more inspiration.
12h: Get French on your social media feed
Rarely a day goes by now without some internet gazin’, touch-screen scrollin’ fun, so whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or whatever other site you tend to frequent, why not like, follow and subscribe to some Frenchies who will inadvertently get your brain thinking en français.
Most bloggers update regularly on various social media platforms so to get you started, take a look at La Revue de Kenza, Le Blog de Betty or Miss Pandora for fashion, Blancoco or Papilles et Pupilles for food, and In the Mood for Cinema for films, and have a look at our article here on the most popular French YouTubeurs.
19h: Use Marmiton to cook dinner
Grumeleux? Sauteuse? Tôle? You may be surprised at the amount of vocabulary you can pick up from reading recipes, so the next time you are stuck for what to make for dinner, refer to this online encyclopaedia of recettes.
Even if cooking isn’t your thing (and for many French people it isn’t either, given the success of the Picard empire!), try typing vite fait into the search bar – the list is exhaustive.
21h: Watch a French TV series
If reading a book in another language takes more concentration than you can physically summon at the end of the day, and you don’t have time to watch a movie, allow us to introduce you to some lovely light-hearted viewing material.
Scènes de Ménages (if you haven’t seen this extremely popular series already, you need to. Tout. De. Suite). Un Gars une Fille (Jean Dujardin… No more explanation required), Bref (very addictive), and Soda (what the young people are watching, warning: argot alert).
And you? What do you do to keep up your French?Image credits:
1. Conversations by Benson Kua, via Flickr.
2. Live french news, via Youtube.
3. Zaz Paris Album, via Youtube.
4. Recipe, via Marmiton hompage