Me either. But, that’s changing. These past few weeks, I’ve been brushing up on my French. No, my husband does not speak French. No, his family does not speak French. No, I am not living in a French-only community (poor Québécoise). So, you ask, why learn the language?
Judging from the job postings I’ve been looking at, it appears “fluency in French” is an advantageous skill to possess. And, I’ve always liked the idea of being bilingual. I’m actually rather excited about the process of picking up the language and (fingers crossed) being fluent.
Back in my high school days, I loved French class; I took three years. What’s not to like about a class where you play lots of Bingo (albeit in French), taste French cuisine, watch subtitled movies and receive cool French stickers? I was quite good with vocabulary and verb conjugations and all that nasty stuff related to grammar and language in general. Nerd? Yes.
Unfortunately, after being away from all-things French for a number of years (say, 10), my “skill” was reduced to a couple handfuls of vocabulary words and phrases such as “Tu vas à la piscine avec moi.” Yes, I just told you that you are going to the swimming pool with me.
That’s where Rosetta Stone came in. A language-learning software program, Rosetta Stone uses pictorial and word associations to teach languages. Learning happens in much the same manner as a young child picks up his/her language. What’s that round thing that bounces up and down? Looks like “b-a-l-l.” Sounds like “bôl.” Must be a ball.
The funny thing is that as I work my way through the software, all the French I learned years ago is coming back to me. All the vocabulary. The differences between feminine, masculine and plurality. All the verb conjugations. All the verb tenses. The use of “tu” versus “vous” when they both mean “you.” Things like that. Maybe learning a language is like riding a bike. Just because you haven’t ridden for a while doesn’t mean you lose the ability to ride.
And, while I’m hardly fluent at this point, I can now send fun e-mails to my family and friends, sharing with them all that I’m re-learning. Keep in mind, I’m still learning. Always learning. And, whenever I think, “YIKES! I have no idea what the heck any of this means,” I think about individuals who are trying to learn English for the first time. Learning French is probably a walk in the park in comparison. Stupid English idioms.
Bonjour, mon ami! (Hello, my friend!)
Comment vas-tu? (How are you?)
Je vais bien, merci. (I am good, thanks.)
J’apprends le francais. C’est pas mal. (I’m learning French. It’s not bad.)
At this point, I could ramble on in French and tell you about my day or what I’m wearing, but my past/future tense conjugations are rusty. And you’d probably have no idea what I’m saying anyway. Stay tuned though.
You know, I’ve heard the easiest way to pick up a language is to be immersed in it. Perhaps a trip to France is in order? Or Quebec City. Hhmmm. Sounds like “une bonne idée” to me!