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



Weeds / A street Art Project, by Mona Caron

They are often unwanted, they grow in hostile environment, even if isolated.

Mona Caron – Phyteuma

This San Francisco-based artist has chosen to make them even more visible. She paints these giant dandelions, nettles and other unpopular plants on buildings and house walls.

I find it interesting, soothing and thought-provoking.

Her website : http://monacaron.com

Her Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/mona.caron.artist

John Lewis’s Christmas Ad – 2014 Version

Traditionally, on the first week-end after Thanksgiving Americans start shopping for Christmas. In the United Kingdom, this advert for the famous British department store John Lewis was released as soon as November 6th.

Each year, the new John Lewis ad features a slow cover of a famous song, and lovely creatures such as animals, snowmen, children… And it is always a feast for the eye. Enjoy !

It sounds like a beautiful dream

This song from the late 1960ies still sounds very fresh and awesome : The Octopus’s Garden, by the Beatles. It was written by Ringo, one of the 4 members of the band.

Ringo had the idea of writing this song while on summer vacation in Sardinia in 1968. He had eaten squid (=octopus) for the first time, and the captain of the boat explained to him that octopuses collect stones and objects to arrange them neatly on the seabed, kind of like a garden.

I’m glad you enjoyed it !

PS : I wonder if the famous cartoon series Sponge Bob is not inspired from this song…

Today is… Columbus Day !

Columbus Day first became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and became a federal holiday in the United States in 1937, though people have celebrated Columbus’s voyage since the colonial period.

Many Italian-American observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage, the first occasion being in New York City on October 12, 1866. Since 1970, the holiday has been fixed to the second Monday in October, coincidentally the same day as the Canadian Thanksgiving celebration. It is generally observed nowadays by banks, the bond market, the U.S. Postal Service, other federal agencies, most state government offices, many businesses, and most school districts.

Source : Slate.com