Sunday, April 26, 2009

Keep on Learning

My rough draft intro for the first day of French class in January

My senior political science project on the French Presidency of the European Union reignited my love for the French language and culture. University studies, being what they are, took my time and a chunk of my attention away from a passion I've had since my fourth grade teacher taught a small group of usFrench for the a couple of weeks in the summer of '92.

Since I graduated I've taken steps to expose myself to la langue francaise in hopes that I can sharpen my French language skills once again. One would thinking living in Oklahoma there would be no way I could do this effectively- if you think that you are fortunately wrong! First step I took was to sign up for weekly French language courses from The Alliance Francaise of
Tulsa starting in Januaryhe . The courses are conducted in French and due to the small class size I am forced to participate in conversation- my weakest area. The local community college also had classes, but, the cost and time were a bit of an issue so I went with the Alliance.

I do not stop there. At home I not only write my assignments, I do a LOT of listening and reading. I read a
couple of blogs written in French* and I'm always on the lookout for others. I also watch French films repeatedly, as well as, French news- yes the news all in French! Thanks to the internet it is possible to watch live streams of television from around the world. Thanks to this website, I watch France24 (kinda like CNN) anytime of the day nearly everyday of the week. While yes, I don't understand every word, I get the context at the very least and every few minutes sentences will come together like pieces of a puzzle fluidly. This is a fabulous tool to hone my listening skills and I find it has helped my comprehension quite a bit. The best part is they are FREE!

The key is exposure, anything you can do to expose yourself, even if it's a small amount per day, helps. Like a musical intrument, it just takes a bit of daily practice. While immersion is by far the best and most effective way, it's not as if I can just move to France for a little while and get uber fluent! (though it is tempting) So, in the meantime I make due and I can tell a significant difference from just a few months ago. I plan on ordering some
books to increase my vocabulary in the future as my budget allows.

There are many other resources out there like software to help anyone learn a language. If you are able to afford that cost, go for it. Don't be afraid though to branch out from there. In this age of technology and globalization access to language learning tools is easier than ever. (Did that sound like an ad or what?! lol) So whether it's starting from scratch, or reviving long lost language skills, my word of advice is go for it. I've only scratched the surface myself. So, get out there do a bit a research (gotta love Google) and go from there. It's never too late and you will have a skill that will benefit you for a lifetime!

Like those NBC ads say, 'The More You Know...'

* I also read blogs of expats as I find that gives me a taste of everyday culture and life in a foreign country.


Heather said...

I love 60s french musicals...have you been emmersing yourself in those? I have Umbrellas of Cherbourg somewhere...but I think Les Juenes Filles french town ;) is my favorite. Catherine Deneuve=dreamy!

Rocheforde!? I think that was the town???

Habebi said...

Mon dieu non!! I haven't even tapped into that vein, shame on me! I will have to go hunt some dvds down.