In this second post in a promotional series of three posts, Marion Geoffray of Theatre Sans Accents gives us some tips about how to use acting techniques to sound more native in a foreign language. Theatre Sans Accents is an Edinburgh group which tries to break cultural and language barriers through the power of theatre. Marion also tells us about their upcoming language learning workshops.
We often get very hung up on words when we’re learning a foreign language. Of course, words are important to make yourself understood. However, if you want to really learn to “sound like a native”, you have to get involved with the language with more than just vocabulary.
Stereotypes and Clichés Can Be Helpful
Cultural and social caricatures can often help us to better understand a foreign country. For instance, it is true that British people drink a lot of tea and often have a lot of small talk about the weather. Similarly, it is not merely a legend that French people love their bread and wine!
Surprisingly enough, you can use these clichés to become more comfortable living in a foreign language and country. Try to pick one or two things that you like about the culture and make them your own by incorporating them to your daily life.
Have You Forgotten About Body Language?
Body language is often neglected when we learn a foreign language. We focus mainly on what is said and heard, but speaking a foreign tongue requires your whole body to be involved. Here are two quick exercises you can use to reconnect with your body language:
- Try “speaking with your hands” while you talk. This will remind you that your arms exist, and help you to stop thinking too much about the words.
- Try associating a word with a movement. This will make you more likely to remember it and use it frequently.
If All Else Fails, Just Pretend!
If you’ve tried both of these things and you still feel uncomfortable, at least you can pretend! That’s one of the great assets of using theatre as a language learning method; it provides a safe environment where you can just put on a persona and go for it without anyone judging your performance. The more you do it on stage, the more you’ll be likely to do it in real life!
Would You Like to Learn Language Through Theatre?…
Theatre as a method of language learning is a relatively recent discipline, although academics have been researching it for the past thirty years. At Theatre Sans Accents, we believe that both the creative and linguistic processes can be mutually beneficial to language learners and provide fast and effective results.
Language in all its forms is the essence of Theatre. French dramatist Antonin Artaud talked about “breaking through language to re-create theatre”. At Theatre Sans Accents, we aim to achieve this reunification.
With a strong educational emphasis, we produce workshops with both children and adults in mind. People coming from all horizons can enjoy our workshops; anyone who wishes to learn a foreign language in a practical and non academic environment. We specialise in English and French as second languages, and speakers of all levels are welcome: complete beginners, intermediate and advanced.
By using various acting techniques (e.g. focusing on body language, elocution, emotions through improvisation, characterisation work), we encourage individuals to experience the language in concrete situations, building up communication abilities and confidence in a safe and relaxed environment.
We offer collaborative and diverting hands-on sessions to experience foreign languages without the pressure of the classroom. We help our participants to boost their motivation and improve inter-cultural and social competences.
…Then, Come and Join Us for a Workshop!
Our next term starts in the week commencing Monday 11th April until Saturday 2nd July 2016 in Edinburgh, UK.
If you sign up by the 10th of April, you will be eligible for our “Early Bird Fees”, which have a discount of 10%. However, you can also just come to the first “taster session” to see if our workshops might be a good fit for you.
Find us at our website: TheatreSansAccents.co.uk