Sunday, January 18, 2009

French Immersion

It seems I have been lax in my posts recently, but I will definitely keep up with the posting from here on out. Nothing new going on in the life and times of Me, but the new Spring 09 semester has started. I am only taking one class - and boy is it a doozy.

Here's a bit of a (language) "history" lesson. I was lazy (I mean lucky?!) enough to have chosen a career path that did not require studies in foreign language. In elementary school I took a French class but I can barely remember the basics. While my friends were taking Spanish or French in high school, I was taking Quiz Bowl. lol. In college my original major (9 years ago) was Business Management, and a foreign language was optional - which in college-speak means I didn't have to even think about taking it.

Well, genius that I am, I decided to re-enter into the college life a few years ago after being out for about 5 years or so, and I chosen English as my major. Why? Because I am a glutton for punishment.

I now have to take 4 years of a foreign language, which is okay because I love learning. I want to learn sign language and Spanish. But as my (bad) luck will have it, my two jobs and poor planning on my part, caused me to miss out on changing my schedule which was required to start taking Spanish 101. I scoured the class offerings and found French 101 night classes.

Feeling relieved and extremely lucky, I hurriedly signed up and wrote that big, bad check to insure I was in the class. French. Well, my heritage is Cajun French, so I guess I can learn a bit of French.

I went to purchase the new book I needed for class, which was $213. Jeez don't people know that college students are usually poor. I cringed as I swiped the card, removing my hard-earned money from my poor checking account. (I think I actually heard sounds of the banking gods laughing as I a tear trickled out of my soul as I mentally chronicled all of the other things I'll have to do without until payday.)

Well my first day of class was painful. The professor doesn't believe in speaking English in class (gulp). So luckily I had reviewed the pages for the lesson and did the assignments, but I pretty much had no idea what was going on.

Trying to incorporate learning a new language in my life, which is already riddled with jobs, responsibilities, etc., is really kicking me in the *shin. But I will persevere. The reason: because I will bribe myself. If I immerse myself in the French language and not only pass my classes but also learn to speak and write French fluently, then after completion of my forth class, Mindy is going to Paris! (I'm saving my lint-covered pennies now because this is a dream of mine anyway). And to be able to experience France while understanding what the heck the locals are saying...Priceless.

I've been thinking about the benefits of taking French classes when I really wanted to take Spanish and here is what I found. I love French things. I love foreign films yet hate having to read the subtitles. I love reading so by becoming fluent I can read French novels and hey even write fluently in French - yeah - translations rock. So all is not lost because I now have a game plan.

I'm setting up different French-speaking folk in my life to quiz and talk to me in French. This is allowing me to spend more time with my friends and family and call it required instead of just hanging out, which is always good. And I'm going to immerse myself in the language, learning about the country and the language, reading the gibberish in French newspapers online until it makes sense, and all around eating, sleeping, breathing everything French.

Guess what that means for got it! I will incorporate my French learnings in my blog - genius. Because now I will definitely not have a life since I'll be studying and speaking broken French all the time; so what else will I have to blog about?

But the good news is, hey you may learn something, too. Keep in mind that I'm starting with the basics and have no idea about any grammar rules or anything, so most of it will be gibberish but the goal is start thinking, reading, speaking, and writing French. Even with my messups - it should be a hoot! So stick around for my future posts as we learn about...

la monde francophone (the French world)!

Bonjour, mes amis (Hello, my friends). Je vais tres bien! (I am very well). I love a lot of things that are French including:

la cuisine et le vin francais: (French cuisine) le champagne, le vin (wine), beignets, le crepes

la litterature fracophone: (French literature) Anais Nin

le cinema francais: (French cinema - actors in my case) Michael Vartan (Never Been Kissed and Alias), Vincent Perez (the Crow movies), Olivier Martinez (Unfaithful), Emma Watson (Hermoine Granger in Harry Potter)

les produits francais: (French products) Lancome, Dom Perignon, Evian, Chanel, Dior

Interesting tidbit: the French greeting with the exchanging of brief kisses on the cheek is called bises.

That's enough for today. Maybe you found some things French that you love, too. Until next time. Au revoir!


Angie Kay Dilmore said...

Going to Paris-great plan! Textbooks-way too expensive. Living in Louisiana and learning French-practical. I still don't know how to pronounce this. Laissez les bon temps rouler. But I am getting better with peoples' last names.

Mindy Blanchard said...


That's about the only thing I can pronounce. We learn to say Laissez le bon temps rouler before we learn how to say our

Ugh I can't even think about how to say people's first or last names. lol