How to Learn French

Marseilles top of city

Sometimes I get these crazy ideas in my head. Things I want to learn, for no particular reason. Studying French qualifies.

That said, I have my reasons...

1. Studying a language wards off senility; I may be a little early on this one, but that's okay

2. French is sexy and that has its appeal (true confession :)

3. When the ballet teacher says renversez, I remember I just learned it means "to spill." This kind of matches what I am supposed to do (bow from the waist, with a flat back and look graceful).

4. If I ever go to France again I can order my croissant in French instead of Spanish. This is a plus.

5. Some day I'll be able to read French poetry (sexy, times two)

This is all well and good, but studying French is one of the hardest things I've ever done (with the possible exception of beginning ballet as an adult.)

Here is what I'm doing to try to smooth the process:

1. Suspend my disbelief (this is hard to do when you've got a whole incomprehensible language before you, but I think it's essential)

2. Listen to French music every day; it helps me get that lilting pronunciation in my head

3. Read children's books. They are repetitive, which is good. I just have to hold back the sense that I can't even understand what the average French-speaking two-year-old can understand. (My current personal favorite is Je Vais Me Sauver)

4. Do one chapter in First Start French I every day. Try not to worry that I already forgot a third of yesterday's lesson.

5. When I'm not too lazy and forgetful, listen to that Frenchpod.com subscription I paid for. It I ever meet the President's wife, I will know how to say a proper hello. And if a friend falls during skiing I will know how to tell him to get back up after he renverse (spills himself not so gracefully).


For anyone who is interested, here is the basic conjugation of the verb renverser, which means to spill, topple, turn over...

je renverse
tu renverses
il renverse
nous renversons
vous renversez
ils renversent

je renverserai
tu renverseras
il renversera
nous renverserons
vous renverserez
ils renverseront

Marseilles Top of City photo, by L.L. Barkat.



Blogger Kathleen Overby said...

Want my list of french films? :) I adore french movies and the sound of the language even if I can't understand anything. There is something sensual/sexy about it, you're so right! Go girl. May I say I am proud of you and you can be proud of yourself? :)

12:19 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I've been thinking of learning Spanish. I took four semesters in college, but was just beginning to comprehend. Since we live in an area where a good majority of the population speaks spanish I thought it might be to my benefit to pick back up the books and find what I remember.

That way if someone is talking smack in the checkout line at the grocery store...I have a clue :) and maybe my husband will find Spanish sexy. {probably not but it can't hurt}

12:19 PM  
Blogger Kelly Langner Sauer said...

You know, I don't want to copy you, but there's a spunky little dream in me that says "you want to learn french too, and see, even Laura is doing it," as if that is some sort of excuse for the absolute frippery of learning a language I don't need to know just because it sounds so lyrical.

it's either French or Gaelic.

dazzled sigh.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Kelly Langner Sauer said...

frippery is as frippery does - and I think frippery is so cool. like, all the extra unnecessary that makes life beautiful... you're right. we can't create without frippery.

learning French is on my 100 things list. i'll blog it when I finish making it. I'm only at 38 now.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

#6. Answer the phone in French. Your friends will know you'll learning the language and anyone you don't want calling will hang up.

#7. Practice speaking in bed. Your husband will appreciate it, and what can be better than that?

#8. Take up Italian when you get sick of French. See No. 7.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl Smith said...

I took French in college, as an adult. This was the year before our church choir went on a mission trip to Guadeloupe (in the FWI).

While on that trip, I remember being so excited to initiate conversation with a crowd of beautiful children gathered to hear us sing. "Comment tu t appelle?" and with that, they were off... far beyond my ability to understand a word they said.

Oh, and another day I asked a lady if she was a hat, instead of if she had any hats - to sell.

Conjugating French verbs is sexy too.

2:57 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Maureen and Cheryl both (for different reasons)... LOL! :)

3:25 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Funny. When we lived in Paris, I used to ask people to speak to me like I was three years old.
I knew more French than that, but it really did help the old brain get it all sorted out. :)

5:47 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

I really wish I could talk you into throwing over French for Italian, because then I would someone to practice with (and I'd actually get to work on it). I think I could make a good argument that all your reasons work just as well in Italian, except the ballet I suppose. Plus, there's the food, and the wine, Rome, Venice, Florence. Need I go on?

7:31 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Ah, Maria! You learn one, I'll learn the other. Some day we can travel together and each be prepared to order food in a different country. :)

I don't know. French just does it for me. (Or it might be the baguettes.)

7:35 PM  

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