Skip to main content

Practising "ce qui" and "ce que"

Ce qui and ce que are not the easiest to practise, but students who manage to use them spontaneously (see - I got the s word in there) usually have a good level of spoken proficiency.

One little way to practise these in a natural, communicative way would be to get students to make a written list of things they love and hate in life. I thought of this after looking at some of those awful random hate comments you find on Twitter - it makes you despair sometimes, doesn't it? In pairs, or with you, they could then share their pet hates and likes, introducing them with these formulae:

(Tu sais) ce que je déteste, c'est...
Ce que j'aime le moins...
Ce qui m'embête...
(Tu sais) ce qui m'agace..
Ce qui me met en colère...
Ce qui m'énerve ...
Ce qui me fait chier (argot) ...

Ce qui me fait plaisir, c'est...
Ce que j'aime beaucoup...
Ce qui me rend heureux...
Ce qui me plaît beaucoup...

Or even (if a bit forced? )

(Tu sais) ce dont j'ai horreur...

I'd suggest giving them some of your own likes and hates. Students might find these interesting or amusing. How about these:

Ce qui m'embête, c'est les commentaires abusifs sur les réseaux sociaux comme Twitter.
Tu sais ce qui m'agace, c'est les commentaires négatifs dans les journaux en ligne.
Ce que je déteste, c'est l'homophobie et la discrimination en général.
Ce que je n'aime pas du tout, c'est les gens qui ne font pas la queue.
Tu sais ce qui m'irrite, c'est les chauffeurs qui s'approchent trop près derrière vous.

Ce que j'aime beaucoup, c'est me réveiller quand il y a du soleil et un beau ciel bleu.
Ce qui me fait plaisir, c'est quand ma femme va me chercher une tasse de thé le matin.
Ce qui me rend heureux, c'est quand je vais à un concert de mon chanteur préféré.
Tu sais ce que j'adore, c'est quand je décolle en avion.
Ce qui me plaît beaucoup, c'est la générosité des autres.

In pairs, once students have written in note form as many likes and dislikes in about five minutes, they can then start saying one each to each other. The first one to run out of things to say is the loser. This usually gets students talking happily and hopefully developing their use of relative pronouns!.

Comments

  1. Ce dont j'ai besoin might be better?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Except it doesn't fit the meaning of likes and dislikes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It could in a slightly metaphorical way? Ce dont j'ai besoin, c'est au moins un litre de café noir avant de quitter la maison la matin. Ce dont j'ai peur, c'est l'idée de mocksted qui m'attend le lundi.

    Nice opportunity to crowbar in some adverbs, too - vraiment, franchement, complètement,

    A colleague taught a whole bunch of phrases like "il faut que je te dise" to GCSE candidates this year. Now they scatter them randomly around their controlled assessment in places that they don't entirely fit, and it's a bit weird, rather than the impressive he was hoping for. Not least because it ends up with them tutoying the examiner or the teacher.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good examples there. Thanks for leaving a comment. I'm a bit wary of trying to impress examiners with misused set phrases. They don't usually show a deeper understanding, but are just superficially impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  5. From Julia Whyte

    Really liked this post. I used to weave these these through topics such as good and bad points about school, town versus country or whatever topic was on the agenda

    We would come up with a list of pos and negative aspects such as.

    En ville il y a beaucoup de transports en commun.

    Can become ..... ce qui est bien en ville c'est qu'il y a etc

    Si on habite à la campagne il n'est pas facile de retrouver ses amis

    Can become: Ce que je n'aime pas c'est que, si on habite etc

    I would write initials, inspired by Barry Smith, to nudge pupils to produce this type of language.


    C q e b c q or whatever you wanted to elicit.

    I can t write this on your blog I'm afraid!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The latest research on teaching vocabulary

I've been dipping into The Routledge Handbook of Instructed Second Language Acquisition (2017) edited by Loewen and Sato. This blog is a succinct summary of Chapter 16 by Beatriz González-Fernández and Norbert Schmitt on the topic of teaching vocabulary. I hope you find it useful.

1.  Background

The authors begin by outlining the clear importance of vocabulary knowledge in language acquisition, stating that it's a key predictor of overall language proficiency (e.g. Alderson, 2007). Students often say that their lack of vocabulary is the main reason for their difficulty understanding and using the language (e.g. Nation, 2012). Historically vocabulary has been neglected when compared to grammar, notably in the grammar-translation and audio-lingual traditions as well as  communicative language teaching.

(My note: this is also true, to an extent, of the oral-situational approach which I was trained in where most vocabulary is learned incidentally as part of question-answer sequence…

A zero preparation fluency game

I am grateful to Kayleigh Meyrick, a teacher in Sheffield, for this game which she described in the Languages Today magazine (January, 2018). She called it “Swap It/Add It” and it’s dead simple! I’ve added my own little twist as well as a justification for the activity.

You could use this at almost any level, even advanced level where the language could get a good deal more sophisticated.

Put students into small groups or pairs. If in groups you can have them stand in circles to add a sense of occasion. One student utters a sentence, e.g. “J’aime jouer au foot avec mes copains parce que c’est amusant.” (You could provide the starter sentence or let groups make up their own.) The next student (or partner) has to change one element in the sentence, and so on, until you restart with a different sentence. You could give a time limit of, say, 2 minutes. The sentence could easily relate to the topic you are working on. At advanced level a suitable sentence starter might be:

“Selon un article q…

Google Translate beaters

Google Translate is a really useful tool, but some teachers say that they have stopped setting written work to be done at home because students are cheating by using it. On a number of occasions I have seen teachers asking what tasks can be set which make the use of Google Translate hard or impossible. Having given this some thought I have come up with one possible Google Translate-beating task type. It's a two way gapped translation exercise where students have to complete gaps in two parallel texts, one in French, one in English. There are no complete sentences which can be copied and pasted into Google.

This is what one looks like. Remember to hand out both texts at the same time.


English 

_____. My name is David. _ __ 15 years old and I live in Ripon, a _____ ____ in the north of _______, near York. I have two _______ and one brother. My brother __ ______ David and my _______ are called Erika and Claire. We live in a _____ house in the centre of ____. In ___ house _____ …

Preparing for GCSE speaking: building a repertoire

As your Y11 classes start their final year of GCSE, one potential danger of moving from Controlled Assessment to terminal assessment of speaking is to believe that in this new regime there will be little place for the rote learning or memorisation of language. While it is true that the amount of learning by heart is likely to go down and that greater use of unrehearsed (spontaneous) should be encouraged, there are undoubtedly some good techniques to help your pupils perform well on the day.

I clearly recall, when I marked speaking tests for AQA 15-20 years ago, that schools whose candidates performed the best were often those who had prepared their students with ready-made short paragraphs of language. Candidates who didn't sound particularly like "natural linguists" (e.g. displaying poor accents) nevertheless got high marks. As far as an examiner is concerned is doesn't matter if every single candidate says that last weekend they went to the cinema, saw a James Bond…

Worried about the new GCSEs?

Twitter and MFL Facebook groups are replete with posts expressing concerns about the new GCSEs and, in particular, the difficulty of the exam, grades and tiers. I can only comment from a distance since I am no longer in the classroom, but I have been through a number of sea changes in assessment over the years so may have something useful to say.

Firstly, as far as general difficulty of papers is concerned, I think it’s fair to say that the new assessment is harder (not necessarily in terms of grades though). This is particularly evident in the writing tasks and speaking test. Although it will still be possible to work in some memorised material in these parts of the exam, there is no doubt that weaker candidates will have more problems coping with the greater requirement for unrehearsed language. Past experience working with average to very able students tells me some, even those with reasonable attainment, will flounder on the written questions in the heat of the moment. Others will…