Skip to main content

A parallel text and exercises for beginners

Here is a text and translation I wrote for near-beginners, one of 20 on the Y7 page of frenchteacher.net. Help yourself if you think it would be useful.

The thinking behind these is to provide some interesting comprehensible input to beginners, with the English translation compensating for the relative difficulty of the source text. You would ideally present the texts side by side and get pupils to closely compare each version. Pupils learn how to make use of cognates and learn some new vocabulary along the way. If it is high-frequency enough to merit revision this could be done in a subsequent lesson.

Les dauphins

Les dauphins sont des mammifères marins qui sont liés aux baleines et aux marsouins. Un mammifère marin est celui qui vit dans l'eau. Les dauphins se trouvent partout dans les océans de la planète et dans les rivières et les marais aussi.

Les dauphins sont carnivores (mangeurs de viande) et mangent des poissons, des calmars et d’autres animaux marins. Ils nagent souvent ensemble dans des groupes appelés «pods». On pense qu’ils ont une acuité visuelle et auditive remarquables, mais n'ont pas un sens de l'odorat.

Les dauphins ont différentes tailles. Certains sont plus petits que la personne moyenne, mais d'autres, comme l'orque, mesurent 9 mètres de long, soit plus de cinq fois plus long qu’une personne moyenne. Les dauphins sont considérés comme très intelligents et communiquent avec des clics et des sifflets. Tous les dauphins sont des nageurs puissants.

Avez-vous déjà vu un dauphin? Des groupes de dauphins peuvent être vus dansant dans les vagues à proximité de la côte.



Dolphins

Dolphins are marine mammals that are related to whales and porpoises. A marine mammal is one that lives in the water. Dolphins are found all over the world’s oceans as well as in rivers and marshes.

Dolphins are carnivores (meat-eaters) and eat fish, squid and other marine life They often swim together in groups called “pods.” They are thought to have powerful eyesight and hearing, but do not have a sense of smell.

Dolphins come in different sizes. Some are smaller than the average person, but others, such as the orca, are 9 metres long, or more than five times as long as the average person. Dolphins are thought to be very intelligent and communicate with each other using clicks and whistles. All dolphins are powerful swimmers.

Have you ever seen a dolphin? Groups of dolphins can often be seen bobbing in and out of waves close to the shoreline.


Which of these sentences are true?

1.​ Les dauphins sont des poissons.

2.​ Les dauphins sont des mammifères marins.

3.​ Un mammifère marin vit dans l’océan par exemple.

4.​ Les dauphins mangent de la viande.

5.​ Les dauphins sont végétariens.

6.​ Ils mangent des animaux marins.

7.​ Ils vivent souvent dans des groupes.

8.​ Ils ont une vue excellente.

9.​ Tous les dauphins sont énormes.

10.​ L’orque mesure 9 mètres de long.

11.​ Les dauphins sont stupides.

12.​ Ils communiquent en français.

13.​ Les dauphins nagent très bien.

14.​ Il est possible d’observer des dauphins près de la côte.



Highlight in the French article any words whose meaning you could have guessed without help. These are called COGNATES. They make French a relatively easy language to learn, like German, Spanish or Italian too.



Complete this word list

French​ English

mammifère​
baleine​
marsouin​
eau​
partout​​
marais​
calmar​
ils nagent​
sifflets​
vagues​



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Comments

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…