It is not with nostalgia that the majority of Anglophones look back on the hours they spent learning French at school. As teenagers, we eagerly await the day when we will no longer be obliged to trawl through grammar books, verb tables, and vocabulary lists; as adults, however, we tend to regret not trying a bit harder to master or at least grasp the basics of one of the world’s most beautiful, not to mention useful, languages.
It is fair to say that the stereotype of Anglophones being useless at learning other languages is not entirely without basis, but it is also true that learning French is by no means easy and Cuisinez-vous le français?, a newly launched project, holds the answers to all of your French woes.
The concept was cooked up by Thibault le Marié of Langue & Nature, a company based at the Château de la Mazure, near Laval. With more than 30 years’ experience as a specialist in language immersion courses combining business and pleasure for adults and teenagers, the company is acutely aware of the difficulties French learners must overcome – an awareness that has been channelled into Cuisinez-vous le français?.
The premise of the project is deceptively simple, highly original, and very effective: videos combining a French grammar rule and a quintessentially French recipe are released to subscribers on a weekly basis. The videos, each approximately four minutes in length, are entirely in French (although the option of subtitles and a choice of three different speeds ensure that viewers are never left floundering) and are presented by a French language instructor and a chef. Subscribers are provided with a downloadable version of the recipe.
Repetition is at the heart of language learning, and this is facilitated by the videos which include cookery-related Tongue Twisters. Subscribers can watch and listen to the videos an unlimited number of times and are encouraged to read the subtitles out loud, and this style of repetition enables each subscriber to practise regularly and to maximise their progress each week.
The cookery element is no less important than the language side; indeed, a desire to learn more about French cooking is as good a reason as any to subscribe. The recipes are as a varied as the grammar rules and the setting of the 19th-century château’s authentic kitchen makes it clear that Cuisinez-vous le français? is as much about learning to cook as it is about learning French.
Perhaps best of all, subscribing to Cuisinez-vous le français? for a year costs just €52 – a fraction of the price of a more conventional and less enjoyable language course. So, what are you waiting for? More information about the concept and subscriptions can be found at www.cuisinezvouslefrancais.com, so à table!