In addition to the scheduled times though, we do heaps. We sing French folksongs and Psalms, learn memory verses in French and read French living books. We learn chants and rhymes, play games and activities, and watch French DVDs. We do maths and nature study in French and often speak in simple French over dinner.
As part of our French studies we have collected a number of children's CDs of songs and stories and we have uploaded these to Jemimah's iPod along with English language folksongs, her times tables, Colin Buchanan, and other great stuff we hope she may learn. The foreign language CDs allow her to hear French spoken by native French speakers. They allow her to hear differences in how the language sounds and to develop her accent. Even before she learns a song she will hum along to it and sing the repetitive parts - often with remarkable accuracy.
We also play French songs during the day. Now I don't mind children's songs during school - some of them are actually quite good fun, but I draw the line at playing them through my house at other times. So do our friends!!
Over the years we've managed to build a fine collection of CDs in French - music that we enjoy listening to. Most of these we have purchased on journeys to France, but there are a few that we are listening to at the moment that are worth looking out for:
The French 'First Lady' is not only a President's wife, world famous model and the former face of Guess? jeans; she's also a pretty good singer as well!! When she released her first single, Quelqu'un m'a dit, the music press in her adopted city of Paris were rather unimpressed. Not so the general public. Despite the reviews, the album sold more than a million copies in France alone. Carla certainly proved that she is much more than just a clothes-horse.
Bruni‘s current album, Comme Si Rien N’Etait (2008) is easily available in Australian record stores now.
Italian born Carla's French is clearly spoken, and is easy to sing along to. Mind you, the subject of her songs are not quite the type of songs I would have Jemimah listening to in English - In the song Ta Tienne she speaks to a man, presumably her husband, as she sings “I, who used to make men dance, I give my whole self to you”. She relates the intimate details of her life with her trademarked openness, telling of former lovers in L’Amoureuse and confessing that her love for her man is akin to a drug addiction in a track titled Tu Es Ma Came which translates as something like "You are my smack.” I don't listen to this type of lyrics in English songs, but my French is not good enough to be offended by this album. If you feel the same, give this a try - I really like it anyway!!
Did you know that own homegrown Aussie chanteuse, Tina Arena, has married herself a French husband and lives in London? Her 2008 French language album, 7 vies is my current favourite CD!!
The French must approve of her - in February 2009 she is to be awarded the Ordre National du Mérite, one of France's highest civil decorations, by President Sarkosy himself! The award recognises Tina's outstanding artistic contributions to France. The Ordre National du Mérite is traditionally only awarded to French nationals however it is sometimes presented to foreigners who make exceptional and outstanding contributions to France. Not bad for a Moonee Ponds girl!!
Tina's French is clear and easy to understand. The translations of the lyrics are included. You can listen to one of the songs from this album on youtube here:
I've already done a rave about this one here. There is not a better song to teach the French alphabet...the rest of the album is great too. Kids love it - but they can't sing along to most of it - it's too fast!! This ones a must have - at least the alphabet song!! Download this one from iStore!