Pas mal! Not (too) bad. I was very excited the first day and then it got a bit slower towards the end of the week. Luckily, with the help a salted caramel cheesecake, I got back on track at the weekend and did my reading and speaking exercise like a diligent first class student. (I was far from that during my Uni days, so not sure what being a 'diligent first class student' actually means, but... I’m doing fine, by the way.)
I’ve yet to have a one to one lesson. I’ve asked a couple of my French speaking friends to come round next week and converse in French with me. I bet they are dreading it hence it’s so hard to pin down a date ;-) Nah, we are all about work work work in London and can’t ever find time for an extra challenge. WRONG. In this case, discipline is everything (even though I wasn’t too great on that front this week.). I had millions of others things to sort out, but I managed a bit of French every day. Sometimes FORCING myself to do it.. but still, it got done.
I might try some online teachers on www.italki.com next week (they look decent value for money), but still searching for someone local so I can simply do it ‘in real life’. Easiest thing would be to go and learn French in France, but that’s not the case at the moment. And I hate those organised group courses twice a week or something… just not for me. I mean, I guess they do the job in the long run for some people, but I want to TALK and not read textbooks together.
I’ve completed ‘week one’ from both these books. For those who know me from Instagram, you’ve already gathered that I read a lot out loud over and over again, which helps with practising pronunciation and remembering the phrases. I’ve yet to use what I’ve learnt in a real life situation, but at least I’ll have the minimum ready before the first 1:1 lesson.
The ‘15min French’ is overall quite practical but doesn’t come with many useful everyday phrases. It’s good for memorising words and is a nice ‘filler’ for the other book which I predominantly use.
‘Language Hacking’ by Benny Lewis (have a look at his website) is a super common sense approach to learning a foreign language. You start with memorising the most obvious, practical phrases, statements or questions that you will 100% use in any conversation. Not some random things like ‘two baguettes’ or ‘this is a fountain pen’. Fair enough, you’ll get to more elaborate stuff further down the line, but if I’m aiming to TALK French after 90 days I need to learn the actual TALKING. So I’m only focusing on things I’ll use when chatting up someone at the bar or at a dinner party with friends. None of the usual: ‘I am, you are, he/she is’ and then in 2 years…maybe… we’ll let you speak. Honestly, it’s fine to just talk, make mistakes and you don’t need to be an expert in grammar and know every single word to get understood and understand others.
As I’ve endured the pain of studying linguistics myself (German and English) I’m actually VERY against all this nonsense of learning random words or grammar with no context. That unfortunately happens in the more traditional approach to language learning, which – unless you want to be a translator or teacher - doesn’t help in real life at all, when you simply want talk to people about what hobbies they have or if they like chocolate cakes.
So yeah…that’s where I’m at. Bring on week 2!