Forgive the cliché, but the secret about learning French really is to go out there and talk to the locals.
It is worth investing in some language classes before coming out here to boost your confidence, but an hour’s conversation with a native is worth countless classes in a room full of English speakers.
We’ve found that people are very sympathetic about language issues, as long as you are seen to be making an effort. Nothing will isolate you from your French neighbours faster than declaring your English nationality and asking if they can talk to you in your mother tongue.
If you’re a novice when it comes to speaking French, try not to expect too much too quickly. There are bound to be times when you forget the vocab or make a slip with the grammar, but that’s all part of the process and we haven’t found anyone (so far) who has made us feel inadequate because of our mistakes.
There are a number of people offering conversation and language classes in the Charente, and we will bring you details of those in the near future, but for the time being, there are a number of resources available on the web. There are also several books and CDs, which have been recommended to us by a number of people.
If you’ve got any advice or recommendations about language (or you hold a class yourself) please
Here are some links that we have found useful. We hope you do to.
BBC Learning French
The French Assistant
Distance learning from Europa
French links from about.com