Thursday, January 21, 2010

Come Dine With Me: Belgian Style!

The Belgian version of Britain's "Come Dine With Me," is known as, "Un Dîner Presque Parfait," which literally translates as 'An almost perfect dinner.' Vitually the same format as the UK show, except in typically Francophone style they award marks for 'presentation,' (of the dinner table and meal itself) as well as the actual meal and general ambiance of the evening.

You can get the gist of the show (it's not exactly taxing viewing!) without fully understanding about 75% of what is said. It's also great practice for picking up useful bits of slang that they just don't teach you at school; different ways to praise and trash someone's efforts in the kitchen.

Watching TV definitely has its merits for trying to improve my French. You do begin to pick up words and the odd phrase if you're lucky, but too often the French is spoken too quickly for you to understand most of what is said. The same applies to the radio, but I've found this even harder to learn things. It takes immense concentration. You can't just put it on and go and do something else and have it as background noise. If you want to learn anything you need to sit near it for a while. And after about 10mins or so my mind begins to wander.

And when you're busy looking up a word in the dictionary they've gone on to the next piece of the conversation. Still, I'm reassuringly informed that fully understanding another language on the TV or radio takes far longer to master than engaging in general chit chat with people and I'd more than settle for the latter.

I was also told (and I really hope this is the case) by a language teacher of some 30years, that French gets easier the more you learn of it, whereas the opposite is true for English.

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