My better half and I have been enjoying ourselves preparing for a trip to Quebec City and Montreal, our first visit to either city, and our first foray into any French-speaking terrain.
We both took a year of French in college, but that was a while ago. OK, quite a while ago. OK, sometime between the Roman conquest of Gaul and Napolean’s march on Russia. So in addition to borrowing a couple of dependable guidebooks to peruse (Lonely Planet’s Montreal & Quebec City and Frommer’s Montreal and Quebec City,) we’ve been poking around in Pronunciator, an impressive all-in-one language learning database offered by CADL.
Pronunciator offers learners lots of easy-to-use tools so they can go about their quest in a variety of complementary ways. We started with “postcards,” which shows you nice photos and simple words and phrases you’re likely to need or encounter, pronouncing them for you. “Drills” asks you questions in the language you’re studying and gives you multiple choice answers. There are tons of other tools, including quizzes, vocabulary practice, an essential phrasebook and more. Another approach is to try the 8 week travel prep course – we’ve been fooling around with that, too.
Another important feature available in a variety of ways through Pronunciator: learners speak into their devices so the software can analyze their pronunciation and tell them how closely it matches that of the native speaker recorded there.
Putting first things first, I’ve been working especially hard on parlez lentemont, s’il vous plait (please speak slowly) and déjeuner (lunch). My wife has been working on Arrete la voiture! Vous êtes un fou du Volant! (Stop the car! You’re a crazy driver!)
Hmm. I’m thinking to preserve marital harmony we’ll be taking le train.
-Paul C., Head Librarian at CADL Stockbridge