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Bon matin! Pour d’autres francophiles, j’ai un poste pour vous aujourd’hui. (Good morning! For fellow Francophiles, I have a post for you today.)
The first quarter of my French language class is wrapping up next week with my final looming in the near future. And while the two and a half months zipped by, the clarity I now have about how much I don’t know about the French language has been made clear. A lot. But, I have also realized having a sincere passion and curiosity to learn something, in my case a new language, is the propeller that will keep nudging you forward when the frustration level begins to rise and you wonder if you’ve started something you will ever be able to complete or be successful at.
While I, like many of you, took French in college (albeit three quarters, one in France), a full appreciation of what I was doing and what I was given the opportunity to learn was not fully recognized. Now, as someone who deeply desires to become more fluent in the language which is a crucial component to the culture that I would talk about ad nauseam whenever I am given the chance, the dream of grasping it with more understanding was finally made available upon moving to Bend. And I jumped at the chance.
Learning a tremendous amount about the language, I have also learned much more, and that is what I want to share with you today (along with a few language lessons sprinkled about here and there). Enjoy!
1. I am fortunate to have a French language course offered in the town I call home. As writer William Alexander points out in Flirting with French, not everyone has a university or a community college that offers French. And having tried to learn the language online and in books, the best way I learn is in the classroom with an actually professor in the room.
2. Feminine and masculine nouns — there is a difference and you just have to memorize them.
3. Understanding Latin and Greek roots helps a great deal.
4. Don’t be afraid to sound like a fool. Speak in class. Practice speaking in class. Try it. Do it again. The foolishness will subside.
5. I have a loooooong way to go, but in order for any of us to travel to our desired destination, we must get in the car and start the engine.
6. I know more than I realize about the French culture due to my predilection for all things French, reading any and all French-lifestyle inspired books, following the latest French design collections and inquiring about any headline involving French politics. The obsession has paid off!
7. Watching a French film whenever I get a chance is yet another opportunity to learn and enjoy myself in the process.
8. Most French drink their café au lait out of a designated bowl when at home.
9. The French keyboard is peculiar.
10. Many TSLL readers speak or understand French. And I want to thank you for helping me practice in little, yet significant ways (leaving comments on IG in French, etc).
11. The iTranslate app is a must-have.
11. Three skills: speaking French, reading French, understanding spoken French. The latter is the most difficult for me. Currently I understand 25% of what I hear.
12. Buying a French verb book is a necessary supply to have for each class.
13. Avoir and être are the go-to helping verbs.
14. The “à” will only be accented with a left upward mark, called a grave accent mark and doesn’t change the pronunciation. Here is a list of the five different French accent marks.
15. Having a French professor who is actually French with family living in Paris and surrounding western European countries offers an additional level of learning and peek into the French culture.
~To read more French-inspired posts and discover all of the French-lifestye books I have read and loved, click here.
Image via TSLL 2013 Paris, The Tuileries Garden looking at the Louvre