Gather round and join me in my linguistic journey through the ups and downs of learning French.
This is not my first attempt, oh no, my first instructor was Mr. Knudsen when I was fulfilling my high school requirement to take one year of a foreign language (yes, that was many years ago). I still remember understanding very few words the man said, and was one day caught looking out the window, was dressed down (I knew from the tone of his voice) and swept outside, hearing something like, “If I wanted to be with the birds, I should go roost with them!”
Many years went by, and with my children learning French in school, I decided once more to give it a try. I enrolled in what was to have been a beginner’s class at the French department of the local college. My luck; there were not enough beginners, so the administration said, “no probleme” you will join the next class up. Well, if I wasn’t intimidated before, after four weeks, threw up my hands and said, obviously someone was trying to tell me that learning French was not to be.
The years rolled by, I visited France and explored its many districts, at first with my teenage children, and this past year as a solo traveler, setting out for my first adventure in Nice. My Travelogue recounts some of my experiences. I learned a few words and phrases and tried never to do the “Surely if I speak louder and more slowly, they will understand me” refrain. Returning to Toronto this Spring, I was determined to try again to learn French as the third time might be the charm? Alliance Francaise has a downtown location within walking distance of where I live and classes that run all year round.
After talking with their registrar, I signed up for their beginning class and attend two evenings a week. I also became a member and can enjoy their online library anywhere I go. I am confident that I will find the French equivalent of “See Spot Run” to begin my literary challenges and someday go on to read French magazines and newspapers that are available. AF also has events in its auditorium and after becoming a student was sent an email that they were giving away tickets to a concert. I replied and won a ticket to hear Georgian Bay. Unbelievably gifted women. I took winning the ticket to mean that yes, the third time would be the charm to learn the language, and also to enjoy the events and perhaps meet new friends.
My first lesson began with our instructor and five people of the eight that were supposed to show up. I am hoping that at least one more will attend which will make it more convenient for practicing with partners in the classroom. I was surprised that the first thing we did was to learn our alphabet, the names in French for many countries, and then how to introduce ourselves, and ask that someone spell their first name. I will not intrude on the privacy of my classmates, but to say that we managed, although one woman is so soft spoken that I am still not certain I have caught her name correctly. Perhaps we will have a review tonight, and go over our homework, and I will have another chance to know her name.
I look forward to my journey and hope you join me along the way. It is easy to subscribe and you will get an alert when I post, which I am planning to do once a week after my two lessons are complete. Your comments, as always are welcome.