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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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  #1  
Old 19 Feb 2008
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Learning the language before you go

One of the things that struck me when I went to Morocco was how bad my French was, when I came back I set about learning to speak correctly so that I could at least make myself understood when buying food etc....

Today I've discovered this service from the BBC I had no idea existed! Anyone tried it is it any good ? Got to beat paying £80 for a course!?

BBC - Languages - Homepage
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  #2  
Old 19 Feb 2008
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If I had to learn a language before I went anywhere I'd never get out of South London!


It is a good helpful link you provided Matt
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Old 19 Feb 2008
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NO don't pay, they are free here:
FSI Language Courses


These courses are very old but very good.
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Old 19 Feb 2008
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Thumbs up

Best of all, learn the language in the place you're going. This gives you a chance to meet some local people, is much cheaper and, all in, is a far more pleasant cultural experience. Whole towns in Mexico and Guatemala make their living this way. I would choose a place away from the learner favourites myself - who wants to be surrounded by westerners abroad?

Every town, however high its hick status, will have plenty of teachers keen to take you on. They may help you finding reasonably priced short term accommodation too.

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Old 19 Feb 2008
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Originally Posted by PocketHead View Post
NO don't pay, they are free here:
FSI Language Courses


These courses are very old but very good.
Sorry should have pointed out (assuming everyone is from Britain!) that the BBC stuff is free :-)
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Old 19 Feb 2008
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We've been living in France for 6 months now and my French is still far from bon.
I've used the Michel Thomas CDs which are not free but I find them very useful.
I've also used the BBC which I don't find as good.
But I have just signed up for a "proper" French course.
By all means try the BBC, it cost nothing so nothing to lose.
There are other courses around as well though which google should find for you.
Good luck.
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Old 19 Feb 2008
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Originally Posted by dave ede View Post
If I had to learn a language before I went anywhere I'd never get out of South London!
Div ye not knaa how te taak proper Queens english like?

I'm going to give the BBC German course a go. Been years since I first did German at school and college and I don't seem to be able to get on with the CD course I picked up. I think most of my trips in the foreseeable future will be Germany, Austria and the Italian Dolomites so should come in handy.
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Old 19 Feb 2008
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I do find some of the free podcast courses quite good - search for them in iTunes - some of them even come with vocab sheets etc...

French For Beginners

m
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Old 19 Feb 2008
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Spanish

One of the best, fun and accessible resources I've come across:

Learn Spanish with Notes in Spanish Podcasts! : Notes in Spanish - Learn Spanish with Podcast Audio Conversation from Spain.

Very "Spanish", though.
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Old 20 Feb 2008
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[QUOTE=mattcbf600;175439]One of the things that struck me when I went to Morocco was how bad my French was, when I came back I set about learning to speak correctly so that I could at least make myself understood when buying food etc....


I had exactly the same experience four or five years ago and set about improving my French (or trying to).
There are evening classes at various levels in my area but they are horrendously expensive (£200 per term for my wife and I to go) so I started with the Michel Thomas discs to try and get some base level of ability before mixing with others. I must have gone through the 12 CDs about 20 times each to the point where I can now repeat them parrot fashion and it has enabled me to hold my own in the evening classes. Three years on no one is going to mistake me for a native and I still can't follow French film's without the subtitles but for someone with no linguistic ability I'm amazed how much I'm now able to do.
I was recently given the German and Spanish discs!

Matt, presumably you'll be doing video review of the BBC stuff - in French of course.
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Old 20 Feb 2008
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I've been using Radio Lingua Network | Learn Spanish online with free podcasts, good if you live in the place you can practice as they give you 15 minute podcasts as the lessons. So listening to a couple a day is easily possible.

The bonus for Scottish people is that (being produced by a Scottish guy), they include Scottish examples in the language lessons.
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Old 20 Feb 2008
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Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post

Matt, presumably you'll be doing video review of the BBC stuff - in French of course.
he he!

Not sure how that would work - except maybe if it was extensively sub-titled!

Really interesting to see all the resources people use to learn the language... please keep it coming I've got a whole list of places to try now :-)
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Old 20 Feb 2008
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[quote=backofbeyond;175652]
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattcbf600 View Post
One of the things that struck me when I went to Morocco was how bad my French was, when I came back I set about learning to speak correctly so that I could at least make myself understood when buying food etc....


I had exactly the same experience four or five years ago and set about improving my French (or trying to).
There are evening classes at various levels in my area but they are horrendously expensive (£200 per term for my wife and I to go) ..........
I've just signed up for French lessons in la belle France and it's 100€ (£70 ish) a term which is 10 X 2 hour lessons. So it's a bit cheaper here.
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Old 20 Feb 2008
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Other websites I've come across which may or may not be of use -
Learn Spanish, French, Italian, German and 58 other languages with BYKI software. which I haven't actually tried,
French - free worksheets for French verbs and vocabulary, English-French + French-English
and French TV
BBC - Languages - How can I watch French TV programmes?
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Old 21 Feb 2008
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Yay!!

Matt!

I've been FURIOUSLY, studying in the past 6 months trying to improve my French in prep for our trip next year... (Me and Gigi agreed that she will worry about GPS and I'll learn the LANGUAGE!)

I've done the BBC courses (got it tutored at a local evening college) and its good for basic knowledge...to get you started. I've got loads of other resources too -- will dig them out for you.


HOWEVER --- the problem is, its really not good enough to have 'basic French' because... its just even MORE frustrating....

The key is in PRACTISING it, SPEAKING it with others...

Maybe we can practice on each other?? Lets start a French thread in the Bar!!!
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