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January 14, 2015 1:10 AM   Subscribe

Help me remember how to conjugate French properly when I talk.

I've been learning French for several years, and my comprehension of both oral and written French is excellent. I haven't spoken it much in a while, though, which means I'm making far more mistakes than I really ought, especially without backspace/spellcheck to rescue me.

I seem to recall coming across at some point a set of audio CDs that helped you learn conjugations via repetition- and not just super basic ones, either, but pretty much all the different tenses/moods. My Google-fu is failing me; does anyone know what I'm talking about?
posted by Tamanna to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I know that there's a series of books that do much the same thing, Bescherelle: La Conjugasion Pour Tous. There may be a set of related cds.
posted by peppermind at 1:34 AM on January 14, 2015

I've just found this. Could be useful (verbs).

It looks like these books do have a cd with audio content too, but check it out because most of the books coming up in my search come with a cd-rom with text content.
posted by nicolin at 2:15 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh la la! I am planning a trip to France! I love the duolingo app. It's great for basic phrases, vocabulary and sends you a reminder when you miss a day's practice.
posted by sconbie at 2:49 AM on January 14, 2015

Have you tried duo lingo? It's just endless drilling, including speaking and listening.
posted by empath at 6:58 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm probably not as fluent as you but Duolingo probably won't help you with this level of learning - it's really weak on explaining and highlighting the right conjugations. I honestly can't imagine how it would handle les plus-que parfait. I've actually found UTA's French grammar pages a low tech but thorough resource for this type of thing.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:46 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Bescherelle: La conjugaison pour tous ( While not an audio aid, if it's anything like the Bescherelle I used in school, it has over a hundred pages of verb conjugations for each tense, using model verbs. Like, "aimer" for regular "er" verbs, for example. But of course, there's a ton of exceptions and they're included here, too.

The best thing about the Bescherelle is how well laid-out the conjugations are. They're the same from page to page so you can easily identify which tense you're looking for. And it uses great model verbs (prendre for comprendre, reprendre, etc) A Bescherelle is probably THE best book for anyone who needs to know anything about French verb conjugation beyond the indicative present. Honestly, even with a parent who's francophone, I would have been lost without my Bescherelle.
posted by juliebug at 9:46 AM on January 14, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers so far!

It's not that I don't know the conjugations; it's that when I'm speaking off the cuff, I mess up because I can't remember them at that moment. Which is why I need something to help me just get them imprinted on my brain.
posted by Tamanna at 9:59 AM on January 14, 2015

What can be frusterating about language is the relearning of grammar. You just have to practice and memorize it FOREVER before you have mastered it enough to spontaneously say the right tense when speaking. I don't know how many tenses you are interested in, but I would focus on the following tricks to allow you to speak with fluency.

Imparfait & Passe compose, Future proche - allows you to use the infinitive eg "Je vais partir à Paris la semaine prochaine" Helper words! vouloir pouvoir can be very helpful learn some helpful tenses of those and combine them with the infinitive. Also key verbs that should be completely include avoir, etre, faire, etc.

The hardest thing, for me, is to remember to conjugate the present because I use the above usages so much more.

I recommend because it is an online dictionary with an conjugator for verbs.
posted by Gor-ella at 11:05 AM on January 14, 2015

When I was a tiny tot in French immersion classes in Canada, we learned verb conjugation with a song they made us sing every day. As with learning the genders of every dang object in the world, repetition is key. Here is an example on Youtube, there seems to be lots of them, and if you find a sufficiently earwormy one, it might help!
posted by ITheCosmos at 12:05 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

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