C’est très magnifique: Students practice French skills at conversation hour

Bradley community members practice their French speaking and listening skills at Table Francaise. Photo via Kylie Higgins.
Bradley community members practice their French speaking and listening skills at Table Francaise. Photo via Kylie Higgins.

Bradley students are often encouraged to study abroad and to learn about different cultures, but for those who are unable, French language and culture can be experienced on the third floor of Bradley Hall at the Francaise table.

Priscilla Charrat Nelson, visiting assistant professor of French and Arabic, said she started running the French conversation table to help students who want to practice the language.

Languages are a tool to communicate with others and learn about other cultures and perspectives, and it is important that this does not only happen [in] the classroom, Charrat Nelson said.

Though Charrat Nelson said the table is important for students, she also said its open for all to attend and improve their French speaking and listening skills.

As the French saying goes, Plus il y a de fous, plus on rit, [or] The more the merrier, Charrat Nelson said.

In addition to practice, the French table can also be used to make connections with others.

The table Francaise is a great way to find other speakers of French on campus and to get to know people with common interests while practicing language skills, Charrat Nelson said. Oftentimes, attending the table Francaise also helps students realize how much they can do in a foreign language. They are capable of socializing, following a conversation, sharing their personal interests and exchanging ideas.

For Fred Einbinder, an instructor in residence for entrepreneurship, technology and law, the French table serves as a way to meet people who also share a love of the French language. Although his experience with French surpasses students learning the language, Einbinder said its encouraging to see students learn.

I felt that I was pretty far away from where Ive lived for 40 years France, Einbinder said. I find [the French table] interesting. I find the students very good [at speaking French], particularly since many of [them] are freshmen.

One of those freshmen is Nora Steinlein, a psychology major enrolled in Intermediate French 1.

I just wanted to come and establish more of an improvement [in my] French, Steinlein said. [What I find beneficial] is the motivation to speak, especially if someone has an opinion they want to voice You can actually have a conversation.

Overall, Charrat Nelson said she hopes everyone realizes the importance of both learning a language and the culture surrounding it.

In French, we refer to foreign languages as langues vivantes, which translates to living languages, and I [think] this is one of the aspects of language learning I most want to transmit to my students: languages and cultures are to be lived and experienced, Charrat Nelson said. Of course, taking a language class is a great way [for a student] to boost [their] language learning and knowledge of culture in a time-efficient way, but the language and culture exist in the world surrounding students.

The French conversation table meets every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Bradley Hall, room 310.

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