Since black mold took over our house in Normandy, we had to move in with our mother-in-law until we can move into our new place in the south of France. While staying with my husband’s mother, I learned the key to learning French – live with your mother-in-law!
I lived with my husband in the USA and Canada before moving to France, and we have grown accustomed over the years to speaking to each other in English. When we try to work on my French, we would speak a few sentences in French and then slowly end up speaking in English again.
After four years of being together, the only real practice I get speaking French is outside of the house. This means short conversations at the café, grocery store and doctor appointments. These conversations tend not to go further than talking about where I am from or what I think about the weather.
My husband’s mother speaks little English, so I must speak to her in French if I want to start a conversation. If we really do not understand each other, she will speak more slowly or use simpler words. If we are still stuck, then she will try to explain with what English she knows.
Today I spoke to his mother and then when I ran upstairs, my husband asked me a question in which I automatically answered in French. He actually asked me why I was speaking in French. Well, we are in France and I am supposed to be speaking in French.
So if you are married to a French man and get along with his mother, then stay with her for a little while. You will at least get to know her a little better while improving your French.