I’ve been thinking just recently about language learning, reviewing in my mind what has been working well for us and what has maybe not worked so well.
We did around 18 months of Adult Education evening classes, once a week. It was great to meet new people and talk about why each of us was learning or improving our French. We learnt and refreshed some important grammar and vocabulary. What didn’t work quite so well was advancing in French conversation: with the best will in the world, speaking French with other Brits will never be as good as conversation with a native French speaker!
Alongside evening classes, we have read French (the Bible, books, magazines, news on the web…) and listened to French audio of the Bible.
In the Summer of last year we had some sessions with a French language tutor, just talking French. We both found this very helpful, giving us more confidence.
So when our evening classes finished in June, we were delighted to make contact with a young French woman who does some language tutoring. In our weekly sessions, we’ve made progress with our grammar as well as our conversation skills. It’s been really helpful to learn from someone young, whose French is very current.
One other thing which has been very helpful for us on so many levels has been French worship songs. Because singing is often slower than speaking, it’s a great way to learn pronunciation at a realistic pace (if you have ever listened to two French people speaking together at full speed you will know what I mean!).
For me, I now spend much more time worshipping in song in French than in English, and it has been such an amazing blessing. God has used these songs to encourage me, teach me, draw me to Himself, challenge me and more. I have found that worship leads me naturally into prayer, and when I’ve been worshipping in French often I move naturally into praying in French, in a fairly limited way at the moment I must admit!
In fact this has made me wonder if it is possible for your “heart language” to change? Already there are concepts, ideas, feelings towards God, that for me originated in French and stay in French; sometimes they just don’t work in English. Could it be that one day the language my heart naturally speaks to God in may be French, not English?