Talking about my French language journey always makes me angry…mostly at myself. I ended up taking French my Junior and Senior year of high school and always thoroughly regretted not starting it my freshman year. I started with French 1 my junior year and jumped to French 3 Accelerated my senior year. I learnt so much during that time and I cringe thinking how good I could have been had I been working on it the previous two years as well. This was mostly due to the fact that I had an AMAZING teacher. Mr.P was not only excellent at making the class fun and engaging but he always pushed us to do better. Once he taught us the basics, he would only teach in French unless it was completely essential to explain something in English. He also required we only speak to him in French. Even if we ran into him outside the classroom he would say “Quelle? Je ne comprends pas” if we tried to talk to him in English. He really had the patience of a saint because I know I would sometimes go up to him and babble for 5 minutes trying to tell him something, half of which was nonsense, yet he never rushed me and always took time to correct my mistakes.
My second regret is that I never continued with the language after high school. Why? Because I obviously don’t make wise choices…The truth is that when I got to college I was lured in by all these other languages I was dying to learn and kept putting French on the back burner. Essentially, I took it for granted. Somewhere in my mind I thought that I would just retain everything I had already learned and I could just as easily pick it up later on down the road. That worked out fantastic! Okay, fine, it was a fail. As time went on I retained vocabulary but I started losing my grasp on the grammar and as that faded so did my confidence in my ability to speak and write it. So where does that leave me now? Close enough to the beginning that I am ashamed to admit it. I can still listen to speech at a slower pace and grasp the general meaning and I can still read text in French and understand a decent amount. This is half in part to retaining vocab and the other half due to the similarities between French and Spanish that allow me to cheat a little.
I work in an office setting and we have to take monthly Cyber Security quizzes which are excruciatingly dull, so to spice things up earlier this week, I took one of the quizzes in French after watching a 2 minute video also in French. Yes, this is my idea of spicing things up. Don’t judge! Anyways, I ended up only misunderstanding one of the questions but got the others correct, which I must admit, made me feel a little proud. Just a little.
One of my goals for this upcoming year, which I will be focusing on in this blog, is to get back to an intermediate level of French. If I am being realistic, it will be most likely be an upper beginner level, as I will be doing self-study. Maybe once I have reviewed the basics, I will invest in a tutor to fill in the gaps and to practice my speech as well. We’ll see what happens, I’m still working on a study schedule and it will depend on how much time I can allot to it a week.