Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Speaking French

Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

As I sit in the living room writing my blog, I can hear my husband on the front porch studying his French. He matches verbs with each pronoun -- je parle, tu parles, il parle... Je suis journaliste.
He learned German in high school, so French is a whole new ballgame for him. He has picked up words as we have traveled to France again and again, but the past few years he has begun to take it seriously with the realization that we will move to France next May.
I joke with him that he will learn French in hardware store as he tries to find the right tool or product. But I know he wants to be able to talk people -- our neighbors, shop owners, waiters.
I'm proud that he is tackling French.

And, inspired by him, and by a new blog friend Roz at Our French Life, I've also been working harder at speaking French. I try to study Duolingo most days, which is a great way to learn vocabulary and the basics of French sentences. I wrote a blog post about it in September 2014.

Last month, I got my nerves up and I joined a Meetup group for people who want to speak French. They met on a Friday night at a coffee shop/bar, and I spent quite a bit of time speaking French with Americans, Spanish, Brazilians, and had a headache by the time I left. I'd forgotten how much speaking another language muddles my brain.
This week, there was another Meetup and I had to force myself to consider going, but I need to learn French better, especially comprehending when people speak to me. Then I noticed that the Meetup was full and a waiting list had formed. On the waiting list, I saw the name of a friend from church who has a doctorate in French.
I emailed her and we agreed to meet at the restaurant and speak only in French for an hour.

That was a challenge, but I know i must do it. I feel like I stumble constantly.
I studied French in  high school, minored in French in college and spoke fairly fluently when I stayed in France for three months as an au pair.
After our hour, with my friend feeling free to correct my pronunciation or verb tense, I again felt wrung out, but I know it's necessary to improve my language skills before we move. She complimented my French and said the fact that we were able to converse for an hour meant good things about my abilities. That made me feel better.
How bout you? Do you speak French or another language? How do you keep  your language skills strong?

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. I really appreciate your participation and I hope you'll leave a comment plus visit each other's blogs.


Sim Carter said...

Good for Earl! I have to say my husband is teaching himself touch-typing so he can be a faster writer! Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. As for you, I have no doubt you’ll be fluent in a few months. You’re already so close to being there!

I’m reprising one of my most popular Dreaming of France posts, the locations of the film Gigi. Have a great week, cher Paulita.

Here’s my Dreaming of France post

Esme said...

practicing it is the only way to keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Here's a French movie about a little girl who loses her mother. It's heartbreaking (you'll cry), but it's pretty easy to understand because the vocabulary is of preschoolers: "Ponette" from 1997.
Here's a great book by a friend of mine who often writes for French Elle: Le Coeur n'as pas de rides, or the heart has no age (technically, the heart doesn't have wrinkles), by Marina Rozenman. It's in French but it's written well and simply. A collection of true stories about people who found love late in life. With this one, you'll cry but you'll also laugh out loud.
Watching movies in French with French subtitles can help you tease apart the syllables. But there's nothing like immersion for speaking more quickly.
At least the French think our accent is utterly cool.

Anonymous said...

Practice and more practice, speak French whenever you can, if you are not in France speak to each other and when you are here, full immersion is by far the best way. I cannot tell you the number of mistakes I have made, only to get in the car afterwards and literally kick myself thinking why did I say that when I know perfectly well what I should have said. At the end of the day virtually every French person I know, certainly the younger generation are exceedingly envious that we speak both French and fluent English, something they all wish they could do. So go ahead, make mistakes, but do make conversation, no one will judge you in any way except favourably.

our life in france said...

Dear Paulita, thank you so much for sharing my blog and your kind words, it is so good that your Hubby is wanting to learn French and takes himself off on his own to do it, mine just says "I will never get it" but always relies on me to do the talking, the good thing is he often understands when I don't, it is my downfall the understanding bit because they speak so quickly and even if you ask them to slow down they don't really, but you just have to love them, you are so lucky to have a friend who has the time to come and speak French with you, keep it up as practice makes perfect x

Paulita said...

Thanks for all the suggestions to help me improve my French. Immersion is coming! So I'll keep practicing to get better until then.

grammajudyb said...

I am so envious of people who speak two or more languages! I don't but wish I did. Good luck to you both.

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