(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
between Dennis Kucinich and Cheech & Chong, I may have confused my audience. So back to the scheduled French report live from ... you guessed it ... France!
I may have mentioned that I have begun French lessons. I started with a one-week, intensive, group program with 5 participants, including me. There were four women and one man, including an English couple and two women - one American, one English (and then me). why does this bring to mind those word problems from 6th grade math ...
The school was recommended to me by my friend Marjo. Its located in Thiviers, about 25km from me. La Petite Maison des Langues is owned by Laurence Saunders and offers classes in French and English. She is a very kind and effective teacher. I was interviewed by phone to determine my speaking ability and placed in the Nouveaux Intermediate group. I think this is basically the next step after beginner; there are 2 levels of intermediate and then on to advanced. I'm shocked I made it there given my lack of professiona
Everyone in the group had been taking lessons for some period of time. I have not attended lessons since high school ... so my trepidations began during introductions. I quickly discovered there was a broad range of ability in the group. Some with better vocabulary and grammar ... but so-so on the pronunciation and spontaneity. The other American in the class, god bless her cotton socks ... has a very strong accent and apparently no one has told her yet about the importance of being able to reproduce French sounds. The uuu-ing and ahn-ing that go on. (See RG, I told ya). And then there is me, stuck in the verb present and mixing conjugations right and left. But with a good accent. And the willingness to just go for it. Laurence says she is impressed that I always find a way to express myself even with a lesser vocabulary/grammar. yay me!
Speaking French 3 hours a day (in the MORNING-ack) was draining and exhilirating at the same time. But I'm so glad I did it, it kick-started my zeal for improving my French. And now, I have 2 things in my favor ... Jean-Yves is back (daily free language practice) and I am taking 1:1 classes 2x a week for 2 hours each lesson. This will go on for 4 weeks and then a new group forms in the fall.
The downside of all of this is I've discovered just how much I've been getting wrong with regards to grammar and vocabulary. How embarrassing! Apparently I might as well just have a big Touriste stamped on my forehead with all of my "c'est possibles" and "je voudrais's". harumph.
So RG, you and me kiddo. Let's be French class pen-pals and buddies. Remember homework buddies?