Sunday, April 23, 2006

The French Resolution

of 2006. I have now been here almost three years. Although my conversational French has progressed enough over that time that I keep getting complimented on my language skills, I still have a ways to go to become fluent. I still find myself missing parts of conversations and programs on television. Sometimes when I'm speaking, I can be quite fluent, but many times I'm still searching for words or trying to use the francosized version of a word in English. This said, I have the impression that I have plateaued and made little progress in the past year or year and a half.

As far as the written word, it is quite similar though worse. I can get through many texts quite well, but I'm better off keeping a dictionary handy to be sure I have the correct understanding. My writing needs the most work. I have done very little and most of my understanding of the language has come through listening and speaking. Grammer and how phrases are turned are the biggest obstacles. I have studied much of the basic tenses, but those like the future and the more complex tenses are unknown to me.

In short, it's all about practice. Maybe a bit too often, we opt for television in English. Many times I'll pass on text written in French because I feel I am short on time. And lastly, I'll do the same for writing in French. If I am sending an email and I know the person on the other end will understand English, I will likely write in English. By no means is it out of disrespect since when speaking to them I always try to keep it in French, but my writing is lacking behind. Lately I have been reading more and more blogs in French, but my responses have stayed in English.

So this is my resolution. I will write at least one, hopefully two, posts a month in French. My idea is that the best subject to cover would be my progression in learning French. I have written an overview before, but this should go into more detail. I can't say they will begin soon because I just thought of this. Plus they will take probably more than twice as long to write even a short post. But I figure since I am taking the time to write in this blog, I could at least use some of that time to make some progress. Lastly, I will probably not include an English translation for a couple reasons. One it will take more time. And second that my intention is to write in French, not to write in English, then translate to French. Just as when I speak in French, I am thinking in French. Translating back will take more time which is in short supply as it is.

So there you have it. Hopefully I can keep to it. As far as those resolutions earlier this year, each of them started off pretty good, but have now regressed. Though I haven't given up on them.

5 comments:

Patof said...

Learning a second language is tough. Practicing it is the only way to get to it. But to focus on itover a long period of time is tiring. You feel like you've reached a plateau. Don't see it as failure, see it as a vacation.

When you're good and ready to get at it again, just do it. Keep it simple: find a good french movie and watch it many times, find humour books (tough to understand but there's no story to follow so no stress to go further) and read it a few pages a day and make sure you understand every word in it, turn on the radio (talk radio in french) even if you're not really listening and ask your wife (or girlfriend) to give you short dictations.

Those are the tools I found to be the most effective when I thaught french. Hope you progress in a satisfying way. For you.

Mrne said...

Je vous souhaite beaucoup de succès dans votre digne effort.

Frank said...

I enjoy watching Toute le Monde en Parle. So tonight when I sat down to watch TV, I switched to that. But who of all people would they have the moment I switch. David Suzuki. It was great to see him, but he only spoke in English.

I guess one of the reasons I have plateaued was because I have been pretty passive studying the language the last couple years. Getting out of that rut and making sure I am able to understand my children or their friends is another impetus to return to a more active role. Writing should help with my speaking also since I will understand the construction of the language better.

I may sit down and watch Amelie a few times also. Thanks for the suggestions.

monkey said...

Félicitations pour ton objectif! Le français est difficile à apprendre, mais c'est une belle langue, agréable à lire et à parler.

Je ne peux pas te donner des trucs comme si j'étais moi-même anglais de naissance. Mais pour apprendre l'anglais, j'ai trouvé que le plus utile était de systématiquement choisir la langue anglaise à chaque fois que j'en avais le choix, surtout pour les postes de télévision.

cousine cathy said...

Bonne chance! Peut-etre je peux ecrire en francais un petit peu aussi? (I am so rusty!)

Je voudrais parler a vos enfants en francais quelques jours au futur, alors, je dois l'apprendre encore!!

Ma probleme est la difference entre l'imparfait et passe compose. Je ne le comprends pas en Anglais!

Bonne chance, mon cousin! C'est admirable a faire quelque chose comme cela. Merci!