Progress Report – 9 Months of French

I have just returned from a trip to Paris last week, which was the culmination of my attempt to practice my French. When we started learning French, I and my wife decided that we will visit Paris when we finish the French courses that we have bought and we are at a reasonable level of fluency. We are nowhere near to completing all the courses that we bought. Anyway, we took the trip to see how much we have really learnt.

It felt so good to be able to talk to people in Paris in French, to ask for directions and  to understand what they were saying. To my surprise, a lot of people in Paris spoke English. I was expecting that everyone would talk only French. So, I was a bit disappointed :). My listening comprehension has improved a lot, especially when it comes to listening to answers that pertain to situations in everyday life. I could read most of the materials that were available for travelers in French and to understand them.

Studying Assimil had an unexpected side benefit. Through Assimil lessons, I have gotten to know a few places in Paris already and that knowledge was quite helpful when I was in Paris. Everyday I was in Paris, I was feeling grateful that I have studied Assimil both for the extensive vocabulary that it equipped me with as well as for the local knowledge about  Paris.

The last 3 months has helped me to figure out the areas where I need to acquire more vocabulary. Apart from vocabulary, I need more practice in listening to French. Yesterday, I listened to a lecture in French spoken at its normal speed, and I could understand only a little. So,I still have a lot of work to do improve my French comprehension when it is spoken at its normal speed by locals.

Paris trip has left me feeling very good about all the efforts that I have put in the first 6 months of 2012 to learn the language. It is amazing that I could talk and operate using the language without studying grammar formally. This was the key idea that I picked up from the Language Hacker’s Guide book by Benny Lewis. I wanted to try how it feels to learn a new language without following the traditional grammar-based approach. I still have to read 2 more books in French before I open up the French grammar book I bought almost a year ago. Having said that, I actually love studying grammar and I really look forward to studying French grammar.

The next 3 months are going to be ‘back to books’ for me. I plan to use LingQ primarily to improve my vocabulary and I also plan to complete Assimil’s Using French in the next 2 months. See you then in the next update.

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11 thoughts on “Progress Report – 9 Months of French

  1. AA October 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm Reply

    French is really a simple language to learn. So long as you know your conjugation & verbs, you will do fine. I’d suggest the next time you are in Paris, to take an intensive class at the Alliance Française on boulevard Raspail. Allez! Courage 😉

    • Siraj October 8, 2012 at 5:48 am Reply

      Hi AA, this is the first time I am hearing someone tell me that French is easy to learn – yes, that is my feeling as well. It has been an enjoyable journey so far. Is it possible to take short intensive classes at Alliance Francaise? And is Alliance Fraincaise conducting classes in Geneva?

      • AA October 8, 2012 at 6:21 am

        Oui c’est possible 🙂 and yes, AF Genève do offre des cours de français — you might want to check its site

      • Siraj October 8, 2012 at 6:23 am

        C’est parfait. Merci beaucoup. Je vais voir.

      • AA October 8, 2012 at 6:26 am

        Bon courage alors ! Et passez une bonne semaine 🙂

      • AA October 8, 2012 at 6:22 am

        Oui c’est possible 🙂 and yes, AF Genève does offre des cours de français — you might want to check its site

  2. Roger October 7, 2012 at 11:15 am Reply

    It’s a great feeling when you really use what you have learnt. Good that you could able to communicate with native speakers. Fantastic progress.

    • Siraj October 8, 2012 at 5:46 am Reply

      Thanks a lot Roger. Yes, the joy of being able to communicate is a huge reward for all the effort. It feels so great to be able to talk to people in their language.

  3. pepsi October 8, 2012 at 3:36 am Reply

    Super… Always my Great Sira

    • Siraj October 8, 2012 at 5:46 am Reply

      Thank you Pepsi for stopping by. Glad to see you here at my blog.

  4. […] Progress Report – 9 Months of French […]

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