Lena is from beautiful Brittany. She’s 26, and has been in the UK for 5 years teaching French.
She took time out from her busy schedule with la Academia to tell me about herself and to encourage you to learn French with her.
Why did you come to England?
I had a job opportunity as a French assistant after graduating in 2013. It took me a few months to understand the Manchester accent, slang and vocabulary – very different from the accent I was taught.
Where and what did you study?
I have a BA and MA in History and another BA in English from the University of Southern Brittany in Lorient.
Apart from teaching, what else do you do?
I’m a DJ every weekend in Manchester, mainly in the Northern Quarter. I also promote World Music artists to come here.
I think that both music and teaching are very creative. When teaching, I create new materials for each student as no two people are the same. For example, I recently taught a child with Downs Syndrome. They were the same age as another student but I couldn’t use the same materials – it’s important to be flexible as a teacher.
Kids make me smile – on Valentines Day I got a card from a girl student who wanted to marry me – she was only 7.
When you have free time, what do you like to do?
Listen to music, make music and sing gospel. I’m always haunting charity shops for vintage items and I’d love to learn pottery making when I have more time.
What advice do you have for people who want to learn French?
Not to rush. An hour a week won’t make you bilingual. But, after an hour a week for four months, beginners will understand 60% of the lesson in French. After a year, the whole lesson.
I have a student who began with no French at all and now, after a year and a half, is very good. People learn for different reasons. Some just have a genuine interest in French. Some need it for practical reasons – a new job, moving abroad and so on. My job is to make learning French as smooth as possible.
You already speak a bit of French. Some 33% of English words come from French, and another 33% from Latin which makes understanding French a breeze.
Learning from me means your accent will be correct. I remember a student who used to pronounce ‘merci beaucoup’ (thanks a lot) ‘mercy bowcue’ which means ‘thanks pretty bum’. She eventually got it right, it’s ‘boku’.
How would you pronounce the following sentences? Have a go and then listen to Lena saying them.
- Je voudrais de l’eau, monsieur s’il vous plait. (Sir, I would like some water please.)
- Excusez-moi, où se trouvent les halles? (Excuse me, where is the covered market?)
- C’est très joyeux ici. (It’s very lively in here.)
- Elles ne boivent jamais d’alcool car elles n’en ont pas le droit. (They don’t drink alcohol because they’re not allowed to.)
Want to learn French with Lena? Of course you do. Contact us now to find out more.