Outhouse

If you want to get better at oral comprehension, you need to train everyday. You actually need to develop two specific skills :

  1. following a methodical approach :

– always identify the nature of the document (is it fiction ? a documentary ? an excerpt from the news ?),

– find the answer to the basic WH- questions (what / what is it about ? who ? where ? when ? why ?),

– identify the context (origin of the document <= accent, historical context, etc…).

– identify or give an interpretation of the objective of the author / speaker.

2. actual oral comprehension :

– learn thematic lists of vocabulary (related to the topic you have been studying, but also basic themes you will be expected to know),

– get used to the pronunciation of the words you learn, by getting your lists of vocabulary into an MP3 file (use text to speech tools for that). When you learn the vocabulary, also learn how it is pronounced. Try different accents 😉

– if you don’t understand every single word that is pronounced, don’t worry. Focus on the general meaning, and lean on the context, and if possible, use the visual clues.

Just do it !

 

Here, for example, you have a video. Watch it twice, then try and present it in French (record yourself). Respect time limits.

Then check the correction.

=> Outhouse – Transcription and translation of the dialogue – Outhouse-Transcription-Translation

=> Outhouse – Restitution – Outhouse-Restitution

 

 

From text to speech

Did you know that you can use apps on your mobile phone or on a website which transform any text you suggest to them into a speech ? Some websites even provide an .mp3 file which you can download. Most of the time, you can change the voice, and the accent as well. It’s not always convincing in a general manner, but at least it gives you a precise rendition of how each word should be pronounced.

I think these may be precious tools to help you improve the quality of your oral expression, and even your listening comprehension.

Here are a few examples :

For trial : http://www.readspeaker.com/voice-demo/

More developed free version : https://www.naturalreaders.com/ 

Another website : http://ttsreader.com/

On this one, you can get an MP3 too : http://www.fromtexttospeech.com/

For your phone (Android…) :

Capture d_écran 2017-03-14 à 15.31.52

 

 

The phonetic alphabet

When you discover a word in the dictionary and you want to know how to pronounce it, there is a very “simple” tool to use : the phonetic alphabet. You have to get familiar with the symbols and the sound they represent in the first place though… You can find phonetic indications in every dictionary.

Here is a phonemic chart :

Phonetic-alphabet

Hope you will soon get used to it 🙂 !

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes

Teddy’s parents knew that his life would be very short, as he was diagnosed with a very rare disease, anencephaly, during his mother’s pregnancy. She was carrying twins, and the parents were devastated when learning one of their sons would not survive his birth, but they decided to donate his organs, so that he could save someone’s life and live through this person. That made him a hero, and the youngest organ donor in Britain.

With their doctors, they have decided to go public about their decision, to encourage more parents who might be going through a similar situation to choose to donate their child’s organs.

Do watch the video of the parents talking about their departed son in the article below.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/23/parents-uks-youngest-organ-donor-teddy-houlston-hope-others-inspired

More on this touching story :

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/26/teddy-houlston-valuable-life-organ-donation