Parlez-vous Francais?

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 Eiffel Tower from surrounding apartments

French is the most frustrating language to learn. Just as you feel you’re beginning to get it you run into another exception, or new grammar that doesn’t make sense! ….. But its such a beautiful language and every time I go to St Barth I so want to take part in the French conversations around me. Or at least not force the French person with whom I’m speaking to revert to English.

Thus my decision to spend 2 weeks in France this fall, by myself, living and breathing the French language (more on that later). My goal is to come home feeling confident to carry on a conversation in French, and to keep it up and continue to learn. I’m not a person who picks up language easily and I’m in my 60s so this is a challenge, but one I’m up for… I think.

Over the years I’ve invested in numerous French language books, tapes, and methods (Rosetta Stone), but nothing has stuck. My current mode of learning is the Pinsleur Method its’ a completely different approach using timed repetitions. It also stresses correct pronunciation, and teaches by speaking sentences. You don’t learn vocabulary and grammar word for word, but sentence by sentence. The repetition is timed and precise and is meant to allow your brain to remember the words, phrases, and sentences.  The script is written to be relevant to everyday life. (  Language101.com reviews the system and describes the methodology. )

You’re instructed to do only one 30 minute lesson a day and not go on to the next until you’re able to respond correctly 80% of the time. They specifically tell you not to write anything down  or use other methods at the same time. You’re advised to find a quiet place to sit and concentrate. By the way this isn’t cheap! The costs aren’t well explained up front and add up as you go through the lessons. I’m seeing several charges on my card as I pay for Levels 1 and 2 in installments, and 3 was just shipped.  This makes me even more determined to not waste the money and the considerable amount of time already spent. I’ve asked them to send me an account of the charges and I’m afraid I’ll be shocked. I do have 30 days to return the module if not satisfied and French 3 may be going back!       Au revoir jusqu’à la prochaine fois.

Please share your thoughts, ask questions, and definitely let me know if you have any insight into learning a language.  I’m all ears.