Looking to brush up on your language skills, or simply fancy watching something different? Over the past year (yes, that’s how long this post has sat on the back-burner for), I’ve devoured a fair few foreign language dramas, some good (i.e. the ones in this post), some not so good (those didn’t make the cut, apologies in advance to fans of Un Bore Mercher/Keeping Faith), and figured the former merited a shout-out of sorts.
I’ve spent more than half my life labouring over gendered nouns, weird and wonderful tenses (pluperfect subjunctive, I’m looking at you here) and obscure grammatical anomalies, but one piece of the language-learning jigsaw still (pun intended) puzzles me: fluency.
Throughout his musical career, Serge Gainsbourg was a man who lived and breathed scandals. Despite – or perhaps in spite of – his tendency to add fuel to the fire (both literally – he once burnt a 500 franc note on live TV – and figuratively), he has attained legendary status in France since his death.
Whilst the French are undoubtedly the pioneers of cinema – or the septième art, as they fondly call it – it’s taken them a remarkably long time to transfer their talent to the small screen. For decades, the picture palace was top dog and the box was a poor second best. Now, however, the tides are turning and funds are flooding in for small screen productions. When it comes to series, I’m a tough one to please – but Les Revenants, Marseille and Disparue deliver the goods (and then some).
For many aspiring assistants, the prospect of standing in front of an attitude of teenagers (that is, apparently, the collective noun for the youth of today) with, most likely, zero TEFL-related qualifications to your name is fear inducing. Awash with acronyms, brimming with bureaucracy and crammed with conjugations you’ve probably never heard of, it’s not always easy to stay afloat in the ever-evolving world of EFL. I’m by no means an expert on all things TEFL, but having spent my year abroad as an English assistant in Alsace and the past five months (and counting) working in the English department of a French university, it’s fair to say I’ve learnt a few things along the way. With application deadlines looming, I’ve decided to offer a few pointers for any assistants-to-be.
Over the past week or so, les grenouilles have been extremely déçues by a new spelling reform, which appears to contradict the Académie Française’s stance on maintaining “la langue de Molière”. Since I have spent over a decade of my life attempting to master la langue française, I have decided to dedicate a post to the (à mon avis) nonsensical decision to alter the spellings of certain words.
The British Council’s English Language Assistants programme spans four continents and fourteen countries: from the Austrian Alps to the French Riviera and beyond, there is somewhere for everyone. Last year, I had the time of my life as an English Language Assistant in Colmar, France. With just two days until the deadline to apply for 2016/17, here’s a brief low-down on being a language assistant abroad . . .