//How to keep up with language-learning over summer…//

For many students in the UK and across the world, the summer holidays are approaching quicker than ever. Many of you, like me, are probably studying a foreign language at school or college at the moment, and may be wondering how you will survive going back to school in September after 6+ weeks without having foreign language lessons (well I certainly am anyway, maybe I’m just weird haha).

So, as a year 12 student studying A Level French – and taking my exams next summer due to the linear A Levels – who needs to ensure I’m still practicing French over summer, I come bearing a list of ways to keep up language practice, so by the time it gets to September you (hopefully) haven’t forgotten it all! I’ve come up with a few ideas about how you can practice each aspect of language learning – reading, writing, listening and speaking – so hopefully they’ll be helpful to some of you.

1. Reading

Reading is a really, really great way to keep up language practice. I mean, if you’re a bookworm like me, then why not read books in your target language? Books are relaxing to read, and you can find a genre or author that interests you – there are so many foreign language book lists on Goodreads! Even just reading a couple of pages a day will help make sure you’re being exposed to the language and the more you read, the more vocab you’ll learn and the more you will see grammar rules in practice; basically, it will give you a better grasp of how the written language is formed!

It can be hard to find books that are the right level for your skills in your target language. If you’re just starting out, children’s books are a good idea as they’ll have more simple vocabulary and sentence structures. But if you’re at GCSE level or A Level, you could try reading version of books you’ve already read in English in your target language – for example last summer after I finished GCSE French, I read the first Harry Potter book in French. Often you’re local library will have at least some foreign language books, or you can use their online catalogue to reserve books and get them delivered to your library.

Also I think most A Level foreign language specifications will have a set book list, as you will usually have to study a book as part of the course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t read the other books on the list too!

Another way of practicing your reading is by reading magazines. There’s a really good French magazine called “Ça m’intresse” which covers a load of current themes in society, and a lot of topics relevant to A Level. You’ll have to order them online unless your school or college has them in the library, but one copy would cost roughly £5 including delivery costs, or you can download the digital copy which is obviously cheaper. If not, you can always read articles in your target language on news websites (and Ça m’intresse even has a range of free articles on their website which you can read too).

2. Writing

Keeping up with writing practice can be quite time-consuming and tedious, but it will help you to recal all of the grammar rules and tenses you need to know, as well as practice vocab.

Some simple ways of practicing writing would be to write a few sentences at the end of each week, talking about what you’ve done that week and what you plan to next week. In the run up to my exams, I’ve been doing this by trying to write a sentence in each French tense at the end of each week in my diary.

You could also write some blog posts in your target language, which I will definitely be doing over the summer.

Or, if you do read some articles in your target language over the summer, you could practise summarising the foreign language articles using synonyms which will help both your writing and be good practice for exams (as certainly in French A Level exams we are required to read short passages and summarise them in our own words).

Another thing you could do is set up a Twitter account in your target language, and try tweeting in the language you are learning. You can also follow native speakers or newspaper/magazine accounts in your target language, which will help with your reading too.

3. Listening

Practicing your listening skills doesn’t have to mean sitting down and doing listening past papers and activities provided by your exam board – the internet offers a variety of ways to practice listening!

Firstly, you can listen to international radio stations on your phone or the internet, which is a great way to test your listening skills and discover artists who sing in your target language. Some French radio stations which I listen to include Radio Nostalgie (which you can listen to for free via their mobile app – they play a mixture of 70s/80s/90s music) but there is a huge list here that includes French radio stations that broadcast anything from news to pop to classical music.

Another way is by listening to music in your target language itself. This can sometimes be difficult to find, but there are some good Spotify foreign language playlists – and I’ve created my own French one which I may write a post about in the future!

The there’s also the wealth of foreign language resources provided by YouTube. Sometimes it’s possible to watch old films and TV series in your target language on here for free. For example I watched a French  series called “Extra” which was made specifically for French language learners, so it uses fairly simple language and comedy to help you understand. Also there will be many YouTubers who are native speakers of your target language – one French YouTuber I’ve started watching recently is Anatastesia – she makes a wide variety of videos, many in French so hopefully there’ll be something you like!

Finally buying and watching DVDs in your target language – or films on Netflix – will be invaluable practice for your listening skills. You may have to watch the films with English subtitles or watch them multiple times to understand fully, but it will be great practice and it will also immerse you into the culture of your target language as well. I recently bought some second-hand French DVDs on Amazon for 10p with £1.20 delivery  – so they’re not always expensive! I may also do a separate post on French film recommendations at some point too as I’ve watched quite a few french films – some better than others haha.

4. Speaking

Speaking may seem to be one of the hardest things to practice, because often you don’t have someone to hand that can speak your target language and are willing to have a conversation with you. But, do not fear, because actually talking to yourself is also good practice. For example, you could just challenge yourself to talk for 60 seconds in your target language each day about what you’ve been doing or what the weather’s like etc. If you want, you can record yourself speaking and see your progress. Sometimes even just narrating what’s going on in the moment in your target language helps!

Speaking is actually a lot easier to practice than you might think – for example you don’t have to focus on reading a foreign language book, or remember spellings and accent placements as you do when you’re reading or writing. Speaking practice can be as quick and simple as you want it to be.

Another great resource for speaking practice I’ve found recently is the website and app “Forvo”. Within this app, you can practice your pronunciation. You chose a level to start at – I recommend choosing beginner whatever your level as it you’ll learn more vocab – and you’ll be shown a virtual flashcard with a word in your target language on it. Then you have to say that word, flip the card, hear how a native speaker pronounces it then you can rate whether you failed, were good or found it easy etc. Then the app will keep bringing up the words you struggle with until you’ve rated them easy, then you can move on and learn new words. I highly recommend it, as pronounciation is a large part of speaking a foreign language, and learning how to say things properly can really boost your confidence in speaking your target language.

Finally I want to talk about the app HelloTalk. This app fundamentally allows you to talk to native speakers over message or through voice recordings. At first I was a little skeptical about how safe the app would be, but generally my experience so far has been good! I think you have to be at least 13 to use the app, and after you’ve put in your age, it’ll only allow people within a 2-3 year age difference to you to be able to find your profile and contact you. It also has all the options for blocking people if needs be. So far, it’s been very useful to me. It’ll show you native speakers who are most suited to you based on age and competency level in their target language, and you can the see their profiles and see their interests to find a suitable language partner. Everyone I’ve talked to already seems really friendly, and I find their voice recording option really useful, as I’ve been able to send and receive voice messages from a native speaker in Algeria over the past few days. Also with the text messages, your language partner can correct your mistakes using their great correction feature, which has been really useful too! All I would say is to make sure you don’t put personal details on their, as with any platform that allows you to come into contact with strangers, and obviously if anyone is acting inappropriately towards you, block and report them.

So, that’s pretty much exhausted my tips for keeping up language practice over the summer holidays, but if you have any more to share, let me know below and best of luck to ayone taking exmas at the moment. 🙂

//Français – mon amour!//

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A French magazine I was given after going to a French conference in January (where I jhad to give a weather report in French in front of a group of strangers and direct and film a mini video in French)

Hello! Welcome back, sorry it’s been such a long time since I last posted on here, I’ve been terribly busy with revision for my exams (which are 10 days away eek!) but somehow I managed to find a bit of time today to sit down and write about my growing love of French.

I’ve been studying French since I was in year 5 – so since I was about 9/10. I mean, that 7-ish years of learning French sounds like such a long time (and I’m still not fluent haha) – it’s weird to think French has been part of my life for THAT long!

When I first started learning, I never imagined I’d fall in love with the language – or languages in general – but here I am, studying A Level French and falling helplessly inlove with the French language and culture.

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Throwback to when my French grammar was shocking (and fastforward to my awful photography skills).

In primary school, and the first two years of secondary school, French was compulsory for me, and as someone who always works hard, I put in just as much effort into French as my other subjects. So, whilst most of my friends and classmates weren’t enjoying the French lessons (I don’t get why so many don’t like learning languages??) I was loving them so much I chose to do French for my GCSEs.

I think by about year 10, when I was starting to think about what I wanted to do after school for my A Levels, I started to realise that I really wanted to carry on with French for as long as possible. My French teachers at secondary school were really supportive and encouraged me to do French A Level as well, so that’s what I did, and here I am now!

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My A Level text book.
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My A Level revision scrapbook that I’m actually quite proud of!

Honestly, I think doing French A Level as been the best decision I’ve ever made. Yes, it’s probably my hardest subject, but it’s also the most interesting by far! Luckily, the teachering at my college is just as good – if not better -than that at my secondary school, and my current teacher is alkso really supportive. I also love being in a small class – there’s just six of us – of people that are dedicated to learning French, and don’t judge you for liking languages, like some people did at secondary school.

Also, the A Level course is so interesting! I’m doing the new A Levels, so the expectations are higher than the older specifications, as we’re required to have an exstensive knowledge of French and Francophone culture on a range of topics, but I honestly love it so much. Learning about the French culture has made me love the language even more, as I quickly realised that a language only makes up a small part of a countries culture, and there is so much else to learn.

I also love how when I speak French, I feel like I have a much wider understanding of the world – or at least another part of it. There’s also a sense of pride for defying the stereotype that British people are “lazy and don’t learn languages”.

I have improved so much over the last year, and have gone from someone who would quite happily read and write in French, but couldn’t speak more than a badly-pronounced sentence, to someone who now can understand being taught each lesson in French by my teacher, repsond to her questions, understand French films and books, read French magazines and have a lengthy conversation with other people in French. Also, my pronounciation is really improving too!

The only thing my love of French is missing, is actually having visted France. The only time I (briefly) went to France was when I went to Austria back in 2011 and got the channel ferry from Dover to Calais. But then we only stayed in the ferry terminal for an hour or so at Calais so not really proper France. BUT I am venturing to Marseille at the beginning of July with my A Level French class, and I’m so excited! I can;t ait to experience the culture first hand and practice my speaking skills (hopefully I’ll be confident enough)!

So that just about brings us up-to-date with my French journey. However I will hopefully be posting a fashion-type post over the next week or so (which is new for me so I don’t know how that will go) as due to the hotness of being in the South of France on the French Riveria, I need to go out and buy some summery, lightweight clothing. So look out for that and until then, au revoir!

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A canvas I painted reading “La Vie”

//Les Américains: comment ils ont voté, une analyse//

Bonjour tout le monde! Aujourd’hui, j’ai décidé d’écrire quelque chose un petit peu différent – c’est probablement clair déjà parce que je écris en français, qui n’est pas normal pour moi. Par explication, je suis une étudiante de français depuis environ six ans et je pense que j’ai besoin de plus pratique donc je peut être (plus) facile en français. Alors, je vais écris une poste de blog en français. Pour mes lecteurs anglais et non-francophone, au bas de la poste, il y a une traduction anglaise pour vous.

J’ai voulu parler sur l’élection américaine 2016, comme c’est probablement les plus grandes actualités dans le monde en ce moment et après j’ai étudié le gouvernement et la politique l’année dernière, je m’intéresse à le sujet. Comme tout le monde les sait, le résultat de l’élection était pour Donald Trump et pendant que j’ai mon avis propre sur ce, je veux discuter des tendances d’électeurs différents, comme, par exemple, le pour cent des femmes et des hommes qui ont voté pour chaque candidat.

D’abord, une analyse des tendances des sexes différents et comment ils ont voté. C’est vrai que plus de femmes ont voté pour la candidate démocrate, Hillary Clinton – 54% des femmes se voté, comparé de le 42% qui ont voté pour Trump. Cependant, cette résultat était une surprise car Clinton reçu moins de votes des femmes que Obama dans le deux élections dernières.

Quoi est plus intéressant, c’est le fait que Trump a reçu la plupart de votes du gens qui vivent dans les régions rurales – 62 % – et Clinton a reçu la plupart de votes dans les grandes villes. Je ne sais pas beaucoup sur L’Etats Unis, mais je trouve ça intriguant comment les gens qui vivent dans les régions différents ont opinions différents et si j’ai le temps, je voudrais rechercher pourquoi.

Une autre analyse peut être rendu sur l’effet de l’âge d’électeurs sur leurs tendances. Les statistiques mettent que 55 % des jeunes qui sont âges entre 18 et 29 voté pour Clinton tandis que 53 % des gens qui sont âges plus de 65 ans voté pour Trump. Ce n’est pas une surprise pour moi parce que le résultat est similaire à ça de le référendum de l’UE en juin par le fait que c’était principalement les plus âges qui ont voté pour l’option “plus extrême”.

Et finalement, Trump seulement a reçu le vote de 8 % du gens noir comparé de le 88 % que Clinton a reçu. Je ne suis pas choqué puisque Trump est connu pour son opinions racistes. Trump a aussi gagné la majorité des votes protestants et catholiques, pendant que la plupart des juifs, et des gens de l’autre religion ou non religion, principalement ont voté pour Clinton.

De conclure, c’était une élection de beaucoup de controversé et il y a un grand nombre de gens qui ne sont pas contents de le résultat. Même si je ne suis pas entièrement d’accord avec le résultat moi-même, j’ai trouvé ça intéressant apprendre sur comment les Américains ont voté et les tendances du électeurs.


Hello everybody! Today I decided to write something a little different – it’s probably already obvious because I’m writing in French, which is not normal for me. By way of explanation, I have been a French student for about six years and I think I need more practice so I can be (more) fluent in French. So, I’m going to write a blog post in French. For my english and non-francophone readers, at the bottom of the post, there is an English translation for you.

I wanted to talk about the US 2016 election, as it’s probably the biggest news in the world right now and after I studied government and politics last year, I’m interested in the subject. As everyone knows, the result of the election was for Donald Trump and whilst I have my own opinion on this, I want to discuss the different trends in voting, for example, the percent of women and men who voted for each candidate.

First, an analysis of the different gender trends and how they voted. It is true that more women voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton – 54%, compared to the 42% who voted for Trump. However, this result was a surprise as Clinton received less votes from women than Obama in the last two elections.

What is more interesting is the fact that Trump received most votes from people who live in rural areas – 62% – and Clinton received most votes in big cities. I do not know much about the United States, but I find it intriguing how people who live in different regions have different opinions and if I have time, I would like to find out why.

Another analysis can be made on the effect of the age of voters on voting trends. Statistics show that 55% of young people who are between the ages of 18 and 29 voted for Clinton while 53% of people who are over 65 years of age voted for Trump. This is not a surprise for me because the result is similar to that of the EU referendum in June by the fact that it was mostly the older people who voted for the “more extreme” option.

And finally, Trump only received the vote of 8% of black people compared to the 88% that Clinton received. I’m not shocked since Trump is known for his often racist opinions. Trump also won the majority of Protestant and Catholic votes, while most Jews, and people of other religion or no religion, voted for Clinton.

To conclude, it was an election of much controversy and there are a lot of people who are not happy with the outcome. Even if I do not completely agree with the outcome myself, I found it interesting to learn about how Americans voted and the voters trends.

(P.S. I know this probably seems a it random to be writing about voting trends in the recent US election, as there are many other aspects of the election that I could be writing about that are perhaps more important. However, I just wanted to write about current affairs to help me practice my French and thought analysing voting trends would be an easier way to go about it than going into a full-scale rant about how I feel about the election, which I’m sure is what you all hear all the time these days. But if you do want to share your opinion on the election results, please feel free to leave a polite comment and we can discuss our views if you wish 🙂 Also, appologies for any incorrect French, I’m still learning!)

//Aujourd’hui//

Salut! Aujourd’hui je pensé que ce serrait bon à écrit un blog dans français donc je peux vous montrer comment mal je suis à français. Il y avait beaucoup d’erreurs dans ce mais je vais procéder néanmoins!! Donc, aujourd’hui je me lève plus tard parce que c’est une banque vacance lundi donc je n’ai pas allé à l’école !!! Yay ! Je passe le matin en ville avec mon père et ma sœur car je regardais pour des bijoux pour ma promo école de bal en juin. Malheureusement, les bijoux je trouvé dans l’internet le mois dernier était pas en magasin. Nous passé les heures marche en ville mais seulement trouve des boucles d’oreilles puisque la plupart des bijoux était bleu clair et ma robe est blue sombre. Cependant, j’adore les boucles d’oreilles particulièrement car ils regarder comme des balloons! Ils ont aussi très confortable au porter et ils regarder bon avec ma robe. Apres aller en ville, nous rentré a la maison et manger du dejeuner qui était genial mais le soupe était trop chaud! Puis je fais des revision pour la biologie qui est tres ennuyeux donc je écouté de la radio au lieu. Ma mère trouver des cassettes lequel ma sœur et moi fabrique quand nous étions petits. Ils ont très amusant !!! Depuis j’ai révisé des français et écrit ce. Merci beaucoup pour lire ce !! Désolée pour toutes les erreurs !


My, that was stressful!! It’s so hard to get all of the accents and tenses and stuff correct when your computer insists on doing an English spell check on everything! Nevertheless, I MANAGED to write something in French!! Yay! I guess it’s a start to me becoming more fluent in French. Admittedly, I did have to look up a few words/spellings in Google translate but the majority of it came out of my own brain. I’ll type up a translation for those of you who don’t know French.

Hi! Today I though that it would be good to write a blog post in French so I can show you how bad I am at French. There will be a lot of error in this but I will proceed nevertheless!! So, today I woke up later because it is a bank holiday Monday so I don’t have to go to school!! Yay! I spent this morning in town with my dad and my sister because I was looking for some jewellery for my school prom in June. Unfortunately, the jewellery that I found on the internet last month was not in store. We spent hours walking round town but only found earrings because most of the jewellery was light blue and my dress is dark blue. However, I love the earrings particularly because they look like balloons!!

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This is a really bad quality photo.

They are also very comfortable to wear and look good with my dress. After going to town, we returned to the house and ate lunch which was great but the soup was too hot! Then I did revision for biology which is very boring so I listened to the radio instead. My mum found some cassette tapes which my sister and I made when we were little. They are very funny!!!

Since then I have revised some French and written this. Thanks a lot for reading this!! Sorry for all the mistakes!

Ooh, I forgot! Today I also rope braided my hair and LOOK AT THE AMAZING RESULTS!!!
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ACTUAL. PROPER. CURLS. Not the pathetic excuse for curly my hair usually is!! I’m so pleased with it. I’m definitely going to try this out more often and may even end up using it as a basis for my prom hairstyle. By the way my hair is actually brown, not ginger. I think I used the flash for this photo, that’s why. My hair colour is normally like this:
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Dull and brown 😂 but I like the other photo better so I showed you guys that one! 😂

Anyway, hope you all had/are having a lovely day. Back to school tomorrow for me. Ugh. But only for 4 days then I have two weeks off!!!!!! 🙂