I have completed reading 3 books in French now and I know 7996 words in French now as the badge on the right shows. I completed my first French book at the end of 6 months and though I could understand the content of the book, it felt unnatural and uncomfortable. The second book I read was the The Linguist by Steve Kaufmann who runs the LingQ website. In this book, he describes his travel around the world and the insights he has gained into effective ways to learn a language. I agree with most of his insights and I have used many of his suggestions to learn French. When I finished this lengthy book, I felt far more comfortable with French and my reading speed has increased a lot.
The third book was a very famous little book – ‘Le petit prince’ (The Little Prince) – a French classic which I was planning to read for a long time. It feels so good to be able to read a French classic directly without the translation. The book resonated with me – I do not take the approach that most grown-ups take to life – taking it very seriously. I enjoyed the sarcasm that is generously littered throughout the book about the ways of the grown-ups. There are some chapters I do not fully comprehend, though I knew the meanings of most of the words. I have started reading the English translation to check whether I have understood the book correctly :).
I attended live French classes for 2 weeks run by a local company in Geneva in my office. This was a beginner-level course using Immersion approach to teaching a language, which is used in almost every French course here. I pity the real newcomers to the French language who were completely lost as they walked into a Beginner’s French class where nothing is in English – I do not understand how someone can actually understand the language through this way. Immersion is helpful in real-life situations as the context and repetition can help in deciphering the meanings over time, but in a classroom setting, I doubt whether a full Immersion approach, especially for complete beginner, is the right approach. Anyway, I enjoyed the course a lot as I was able to understand everything that the teacher was talking.
The teacher was really very good in teaching pronunciation and this is where a live class really helps. No amount of reading can help in understanding the new sounds in a language. A teacher who knows how to teach pronunciation is a great aid. The teacher was great in this class. She taught me to effortlessly pronounce the complex sounds of the French language – especially the sound of ‘u’ which I have never fully understood so far.
We were given lot of situations and were asked to talk to each other in small groups and I was able to form sentences quite easily and talk to others. It became clear to me that I do not necessarily need to study more but I have to practice more. I and my wife started talking in French at home and though it felt unnatural for the first 2 days, French started to flow more easily from the 3rd day onwards. But there are times that we both the need the comfort of our own mother tongue or English when we have to discuss something important. This month, we will try to speak more and more in French and I will report next month how it goes.
- Progress Report – 9 Months of French
- Progress Report – 8 Months of French
- Progress Report – 7 Months of French
Tagged: Progress Report - French