My Summer will end in exactly one week thanks to band camp and then college starting back up. I figured that I should give an update on how everything ended up going over the past three and a half months.
Writing this post in English doesn’t really prove that I’ve made much progress in French, however I wanted to write it in English so that I could articulate better.
Learning a language comes down to your ability in five different parts of that language: reading, writing, speaking (pronunciation), listening, and thinking.
My reading has vastly improved over the Summer just because I work on my reading in French almost anytime I’m doing anything in French. I can read pretty cognitively and get most of what is said. I’ve improved this skill specifically by reading out loud a news article and a Wikipedia article in French everyday. Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and Memrise also all have reading lessons (as well as writing, speaking, and listening) built into their programs.
My challenge for the school year is going to be to read novels in French, I already have a few set aside (as well as the English edition in case I don’t understand) and I will begin reading them as soon as I finish my current book.
Thanks to French using Phoenician letters just like English my writing is not that difficult, just throw in some accents every once in awhile. My biggest dilemma when it comes to writing in French is thinking of the word that I want to use in French, as well as how to spell it. I’ve been using English my whole life and I’m still not very good at spelling sometimes.
My challenge is just going to be a continuation of the challenge I had over the Summer; to write more articles and social media posts in French.
If you haven’t figured it out I listed these in the order of which I am proficient in them. Speaking, as in the sense of pronouncing French words, is not that difficult. I do sometimes find a word that is difficult or I’m not sure how to sound it out in a news article, but I give it my best shot and wait to see it again. The dilemma is being able to think about the word I want to use in French, and then applying the correct grammar to the sentence.
I plan on starting more lessons on italki now that my finances are starting to stabilize. I will also see if there are any francophone study abroad students.
Listening is, difficult. Whenever I do my lessons on Rosetta Stone I rarely have a problem because the speech is (usually) slowed down. However, I listen to at least five minutes of a podcast a day and aren’t able to grab much of what’s being said. The same applies to when I listen to music in French. When I watch Friends in French I can use the context of whatever else is going on in the show to figure out what is being said.
I will continue to listen to podcasts and songs in French to build my listening ability. I will also continue to rematch Friends, in French this time.
Here it is, the key to fluency in my opinion. As you read in a few of my sections my dilemma is not that skill but the ability to use that skill with thinking. I am able to stop what I’m doing and form a whatever I’m trying to say in French but it takes me a good five minutes and it often requires me to look up a word that I have already looked up before and just forgot.
I’m not sure how to improve my thinking. My plan is to talk to my bilingual friends and see what helped them get over this dilemma. I am also taking Intermediate French 1 at my university this semester and will use any of the resources that the professor suggests.
I have noticed a lot of progress in my French abilities and I also was discouraged on multiple occasions about my progress. However I can tell that I am learning more, and I’m sure this semester will help me a lot.