Mon dieu! My French 101 learning experience recently came to an end. After nearly 3 months of weekly classes, I’ll be the first to admit that I am far from fluent.
But, the experience and effort was not for naught- I can proudly say that through the duration of the course I learned how to count from 1-10 (drilled relentless by my parents as we waited in line in Walt Disney World), learned how to introduce myself with enthusiasm(“Je m’appelle Christina!”) and by the end, I even wrote a little ode to my newly planted garden:
Cet ete j’ai un petit jardin. Je suis tres excite parceque j’adore les fleurs. Je planterai gardenia, mufliers et autres fleurs. Aussi j’aurai planter des legumes tels que les oignon, la laitue et les tomates.
Translated to be:
This summer I have a small garden. I’m very excited because I love flowers. I will plant gardenia, snapdragons and other flowers. I will also plant vegetables such as onion, lettuce and tomatoes.
I was particularly proud of this passage because I used the future tense!
Over the course of my class, I learned a few key rules for speaking French…
1.) French is really tough
I know, I know… English is also notoriously difficult for people to learn. But, after taking years of both Italian and Spanish, I can honestly say that French is way harder than either of them.
Mainly, my trouble stemmed from the fact that the pronunciation is not phonetic. Normally, I can at least speak words when reading them, but with French… not so much.
Which brings me to my next rule….
2.) When in doubt, drop the last letter
I don’t know why this works, but it does!
3.) The French are very polite. (aka – Always stick with “Vous”)
In French, “you” can be either the informal “tu” tense or the formal “vous” tense. According to my teacher, the French really actually take offense if you incorrectly address them with “tu”. No “good job for at least trying” here!
So, the moral of the story, is if you are visiting a French speaking country and you don’t know anyone there, stick exclusively with “vous”.
Will I continue on and study it further? Perhaps. That is yet to be seen. With this particular language I may have better luck finding a tutor to help me and correct my pronunciation as I learn versus being in a large group.
Am I glad that I took French? Absolutely. I have lots of plans that will lead me to French-speaking nations- hopefully sooner rather than later. And being able to speak the language, at least at a rudimentary level, is invaluable.