Friday, 11 March 2011

Studying French

Some words are easier to learn than others!
I’ve been taking a course via the web and Bertlitz-ing my way to becoming conversationally adequate for almost two months now.  I'm enjoying the challenge although there have been a few frustrating bumps in the road.

Bump bump bump…..


This sounded like pretty basic French to me.  Easy-peesy stuff we learned in elementary school.

Je - tu - il/elle - nous - vous - ils/elles.  Right?

Wrong! There are lots and lots of French pronouns:
  • Subject pronouns
  • Direct Object Pronouns
  • Indirect Object Pronouns
  • Reflexive Pronouns
  • Disjunctive Pronouns
My instructor, who is absolutely great, must want to tear her hair out as I struggle to form a sentence from the exercises.  I developed some sort of mental block using "nous" -

"Suzanne – C'est la même chose que les autres"  (Or something like that)...

"Oui" I reply.  "Right……Hang on…..I’ll get it. Um….um……attendez. ….non…..un instant……"  I'm picturing the instructor knitting a sweater or watching a movie while waiting.  (We have these great long periods of silence on the study tapes while I'm trying to think).

If I think too much I forget  what I’m supposed to be saying so I ask her to repeat the words she wants me to use.

"No wait……Nous ne l’avons pas mangés…..or were we saying je ne l’ai pas choisi ? I forget. Is it time for the break ?" This is fun.

Il pleut.  Quel dommage!
Overall, I think I’m improving. My vocabulary is ok….grammar is still a struggle….but getting there.

All is well in class, but I need to practice more on a daily basis. So -
  • When I talk to myself, it’s in French.
  • When I listen to music, it’s French (which is always the case for me anyway…Aznavour, Piaf, Brel……all magnifique).
  • Magazines? French. (Coté Paris is my current fav).

I still have a good six months before we head to Paris, so I'm not in a panic....yet....
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  1. Susan language ever changing even our own.The school formal grammar is not so often important these day's.Just think how I suffer with my Russki,Angelshki.

  2. Thank you Edward. If grammar isn't all that important, I'm doing better than I thought! :)

  3. Don't wory about the grammar - my friend manages perfectly by saying every verb in the infintive!

  4. A good tip! No 'tu' for me either. Everyone will be 'vous''. Why make life more difficult!?!!