Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I'm blogging less because I'm sitting in a French class for four hours a week. Literally. Both classes are held entirely in French, and I'm getting to the point where I can understand most of what Professeur Samuel is saying (j'adore Professeur Samuel); responding to him without freezing first is another story altogether. I lose my confidence when I have to conjure the correct articles and verbs. Verb endings aren't that horrible right now; it's confusing etre (to be) and avoir (to have) constantly because the French use them differently than we do.
I can see that my hurdles of speaking are largely around the thinking process-- I try to translate English into French, word for word, as I speak, and it just doesn't work that way. The article usages are completely different. You aren't cold; you have cold. You aren't tired; you have tired. Or something like that.
The other problem is that I need to hit the books more. I feel like the time I've given over to learning French has been a generous four hours a week, but that's not enough. I need to compound it. The best I felt in class was when I had class on a Tuesday, came home, watched a film in French with English subtitles, and went back to class on Thursday. That was slightly more immersion.
The scope of the idiomatic underbelly of the language is extremely daunting. I remember thinking I'd never crack the surface when my friend Jenn explained to me that I was a little chicken, and that was a term of affection that women called one another. Ma petite poulet? Or is it mon? Because the masculine and feminine are a whole other wrench thrown in. I'm hoping that this part of it becomes second nature after I take the clues that the language can give to me; certain endings are always masculine, certain endings are always feminine, and there are exceptions for every rule.
I guess we're mired in our own abundance of idioms. I consider this as it's raining cats and dogs outside of my window. Or as Jim snores like a train in the other room. Or Jamie tries to read his book until the cows come home when it's time to hit the sack. I'm climbing a huge mountain, but shall persevere.