Abergele & District

French reading

The French group meet in the small room at the St. David's Centre, Pensarn on the second, fourth and fifth Tuesday of each month at 2:15 pm until 4:15 p.m.

Please would all members note that this group will cease to follow its current format using Concorde
French Language Publications at the end of May. The group have elected to read "Jean de Florette" by Marcel Pagnol when the group reconvenes in September, hence the slight change in the group's title. The group meets on 2nd, 4th and 5th Tuesday of each month at the Canolfan Dewi Sant and welcomes new members with a working knowledge of French - if interesting in joining call the group co-ordinator Jim Dinsdale-Potter on 01352 710785.

When I joined the U3A in 1997 my aim was to improve my French.

The lovely lady who was then group leader, Lucy Davies, had a degree from Oxford in French but wanted to retire. Within a couple of months she asked me to take over the group even though I do not have so much as an ‘O’ Level in the language.

We are very much a self-help group and although we are serious about the language we maintain a relaxed and friendly mood throughout. The mood is improved by a cup of coffee and a biscuit during the session.

The group contains about a dozen members all of whom can get by reasonably well in French. A number own properties in France or have close friends whom they visit regularly. This is where much of the wish to learn comes from.

The format we use is still the same as Lucy established. We buy an expensive (thirty odd pounds a year) but excellent magazine written for Anglophones but entirely in French. We read through selected articles from it out loud and then do a translation and discuss the various points of grammar that are raised. There is also a CD to go with the magazine to aid with any difficult points of pronunciation.

Pronunciation is very important because a common cry from learners is that they can read and write the language more or less but have difficulty understanding the locals when they reply. Much of this problem stems from Anglicised pronunciations. After all, you have only a split second to recognise the word before the conversation has moved on.

There is no point in joining our group in the hope of learning French, but if you have a working knowledge you can certainly meet some like-minded people and practice and improve.

New members are always made welcome and there is no need to feel you might show yourself up – we are not that kind of people. So why not give it a go if you feel you would like to? We meet on the second, fourth and fifth (if there is one) Tuesday of the month at 2pm in the Dewi Sant Centre.

Jim Dinsdale-Potter
telephone 01352 710785

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