amles80 (amles80) wrote in linguaphiles,

French phrases, translations and tutoring

Hi, I have a couple of French questions. I thought it best to post both them in one entry although the second is unrelated, rather than cluttering up people's friends pages.

How would you translate jouer les midinettes? ("jamais elle n'a toléré jouer les midinettes, les fleurs bleues.")

I'm reading a novel, and although I sort of get the general idea I get curious sometimes about the details!

Also, I'm tutoring a high school boy who came to me 1,5 year ago because he needed help with the very basics of French to catch up with his classmates. I am not a teacher and I am not fluent (as you can see from the first question) but I know enough to help a kid who can't tell the difference between mon, ton, and son and things like that. Now, however, he has by far passed this helpless stage because he's ambitious and smart (I wonder what kind of teacher he had during his first three years of French!) but he keeps coming for "lessons" because it's easier to study when he has someone to ask questions. I do my best.

Most of the time I just help him with his homework and/or give him exercises based on what I have noticed that he has a problem with. I am not comfortable anymore to make up my own grammar exercises (I did that a little during the first few months, when I was confident I didn't make any mistakes), I use books I own myself that cover the level he's at. But now I feel like I have emptied my resources and reached the bottom of my little pile of paper. And at the same time it is now that I need things to fill our study time with because it happens more and more that he doesn't have any specific homework.

So, any suggestions for what I can do? I mean, there's a lot of grammar he doesn't know... but his teacher is not entirely comfortable with me trying to teach him stuff she hasn't covered in class yet. (And she has complained that he sounds too "bookish" when he talks, which is a bit my fault I suppose, since I've sadly learned more French from novels than from real life!) But of course, if he asks a question about something, which he often does, I answer it as well as I can! Last week when I didn't know what to do with him I reminded him how much progress he has made, for example that he used to have a problem knowing how to say things like "it's my book", and I asked him if he now that he knows how to say "c'est mon livre" also know how to say just "it's mine". He did not, so I taught him about le mien etc... but we couldn't do that for an hour... We try to just talk sometimes, which is good (for both of us!), but sometimes it's difficult to know what to talk about.
Tags: french, language instruction, phrases

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