Aidez-moi, s’il vous plait?

I’ve been using Duolingo to revive my French (which I sadly hadn’t touched since high school) and now the bottom of my skill chart looks like this:

 That very happy owl (or cet hibou très heureux) means that I’ve come to the end of Duolingo’s lessons.*  I can still review the words I’ve learned, but there’s nothing new in the offing.

So, I’d like to find an easy French novel to take a crack at, and I was hoping some of you might have recommendations.

I tried Harry Potter in high school and it turned out to be terrible practice material, since, um, I may have had the text close enough to memorized that I was remembering the sentences, rather than reading them.  So French translation of English books are pretty much out, and so are French books that I’ve already read translated into English (I’m looking at you, delightful but in this respect unhelpful, Le Petit Prince).

Any suggestions, team?

 

*I do recommend Duolingo for anyone who wants to refresh a language they’ve learned, as I was doing, but I don’t know if it’s as helpful when you’re learning the first time.  It never explains grammar, just expects you to pick it up from examples, which seems insane, especially as a lot of English-only speakers may have never learned grammar formally.

But it was great for review, since it took all the busywork out of drawing up a review plan.  I go through the lessons, and it tailors the example sentences to bring back words I haven’t practiced in a while.  Maybe I could customize something better, but the seamlessness of the site meant I actually used it, which is way better than the perfect system I never use.

Plus I sometimes got practice sentences like this:

Teaching French language and culture!

 

This is the third day of our Novena to St. Dymphna. You can find the prayers here and a little background on why we’re praying it here.

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About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011 and lives in Washington DC. She works as a news writer for FiveThirtyEight by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked. She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."


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