It’s been six months since I started learning French. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you might be familiar with the how it all began for me. But let me tell you , beginning is the easiest part, it’s the journey that comes with its challenges, obstacles , achievements, & eventually milestones.
I must however mention it right at the beginning, how crucial I think it is to find the right teacher for language learning, especially when the language is as complex as French.
My first lessons in French took me right back to the beautiful streets of Paris, as my teacher spoke extensively about France- the country, its people, food & its culture. It was sort of initiation, if I may say so into the beautiful & complex journey we were about to take.
Now if you are familiar with the Alliance Francaise institute, they usually have a textbook called Saison for every level of language learning. Anybody who wants to learn French & sit for the examinations arranged by the French Government, have to follow their study pattern, which is what I follow as well. The book Saison however is exclusively in French, both matter & instructions, posing a challenge to beginners of the french language. I really need to thank the lord & my teacher for not getting into it right away & instead easing us into the language. My teacher started our study with books that the Schools in India have in their curriculum for French teaching, which are arranged in a very learner friendly manner & are much easier & give you a good base & footing with the language.
We did 3 School textbooks, equivalent to 3 years of study of French at school level in a period of 4 months before embarking on the official Saison book. What this did was, it gave us the confidence to tackle the textbook exclusively in French, having by now achieved a good basic French Vocabulary, which initially looked like a daunting task.
I hated the Saison textbooks in the beginning. They just seemed so advanced to me in comparison to the learner friendly School textbooks, but that all changed completely, when I took to time to really look at the content arrangement of saison & the purpose with which it was put together. I can say I eventually came to love them!
Saison just very simple & beautifully captures the different aspects of France & French life & as a result introduces you to French way of living, eating & thinking in general. From the country life to the culture, from the cheese to travel, its almost like a very lifelike description of France & everything French.
French Grammar however has been an area of struggle for me. Especially since everything, every object in French has a gender & everything depends on it! The conjugations are a story in itself.
The book that put me at ease & made French Grammar a breeze for me was Collins French Grammar & Practice. Must have for anyone who wants to learn French.
One practice I must mention that has helped me get better at language learning is my decision of not completely relying on my Teacher for learning & understanding & taking initiative to learn through other available sources.
I want to mention how important Youtube has been in this beginners French journey. I have learned so much from this one particular channel – ‘Learn French with Alexa’. This lady Alexa- She is godsend & make it all so easy with her videos ! I have learnt as much from her as my teacher & if I may say so I almost consider her my second teacher.
So where do I find myself right now as far as French learning goes?
I can say I am comfortable with the language. It feels like a part of me. I understand what is spoken to me ( if spoken slowly ), I have a easier time with the reading, which comes as no surprise since I was an avid reader in other languages as well. I read as many french books as I could possibly get my hands on to improve my vocabulary & to understand language construction, but speaking French my dear is another story.
I still feel like an impostor speaking the language. It’s almost as if I fear the French language nazi will jump out & call me out for my errors. It has a lot to do with the French accent though, especially since we are used to speaking English which has its own accent. I really need to get out of my head when it comes to French speaking, to make my own life a little easier. It’s on my list to make a video of me speaking French & post it on Youtube, but its something I avoid like plague! Work is clearly needed there.
Overall the past six months have been the very best & I am really enjoying the language so much. My goal for 2019 is completing two more levels & reaching an intermediate level with French. Keeping my fingers crossed! Will post another update soon!
See you another time!