Les Textos: le nouveau langage du pouce

Class: French IV-V

General information: BBC Languages has a wealth of materials in languages from Irish to Urdu. The French site is especially rich with courses for beginners and intermediates with links to radio and TV programs and many general suggestions for learning languages. There are many short segments, both video and audio which can be downloaded for class use.
Reportages: On the French page there is a series of “Reportages” which you can select on the basis of either topic or language focus.. These pages all have audio reports with the transcripts and frequently essential vocabulary and language explanations. Because I knew the topic would be of interest to my students, I chose the one on text messaging

  1. Write “Les Textos” on the board to see if they can figure out what it means.
  2. Listen to the audio without the script. Ask for general ideas of what they understood. (It is not an easy passage.)
  3. Give them the Les textos.doc with the cloze activity. (I copied it into Word to get it all on one page.) Have them read it out loud with their partners. Because it is talking about the abbreviations used in text messaging, much of it only makes sense when they hear it. See if they can fill in the blanks with words which make sense in the context.
  4. Listen to the passage again and fill in the missing words. I have a projector in the class so I did it online, but it could be done with an overhead.
  5. Discuss their personal opinions of text messaging. Some questions I used:
  • How much time do you spend on the phone?
  • Who pays the bills?
  • Do you prefer talking or text messaging? Why?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
  • When would you use text messaging?
  • What are abbreviations you use?

I used this for listening, reading, and speaking, but you could, of course, follow it up with a writing activity. An obvious assignment would be to have them create a text message "à la française" (For a list of abbreviations and general rules for texting, go to About.com.), but you could also do a follow-up brief essay on their attitudes about telephones and other methods of communication.
- smearns smearns