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Thursday, April 5, 2012

DESENCOMBRER: French Lessons and Memories

That's the word for declutter in French. Accent on first e. Sorry beloved French teachers of my past.

I wrote a post a few days ago on decluttering my inbox. Unsubscribing. Much to my dismay, I discovered I had written almost exactly the same post in 2009. Of course, I had no recollection. Obviously, the lesson did not stick, since my inbox has been gradually filling up again. UGH. Will I ever get this stuff under control?

French Lessons. In spite of the lack of graphics, I have been having a lot of fun with the FREEEE Foreign Service language lessons. I open two windows and have the text in one and the audio in the other. I actually have a good foundation in French and it's IN THERE SOMEWHERE. I don't know how the program would work for someone who is starting from scratch.

The best thing about it: it is fun when I am too tired even to read. I have been sick for over a week now and I am sooooo tired. And my accent--which I used to get so many compliments on--is so bad.

I'm hoping that I will be able to speak a bit more on my next trip to France. I only came up with one good sentence last summer. Apropos my organized daughter, I said Elle fait ce qu'on doit faire. (She does what she has to do/what needs to be done). My own jaw dropped when I said that.

Later, I realized why that excellent and idiomatic sentence emerged from the depths. In college, I took a very difficult course: French Romantic and Symbolist Poetry. With my favorite teacher (who no doubt has no recollection of me, his admiring student) M. Samuel Danon. Oh, the material was so hard.

In the little Apollinaire book we had for the class, I found a simple poem.

Avec ses quatre dromadaires
Don Pedro d'Alfaroubeira
courut le monde et l'admira
il fit ce que je voudrais faire
si j'avais quatre dromadaires

Guillaume Apollinaire

For some reason, I memorized it. If you take a look, you will see the template for my one good sentence of Summer 2011.

One thing about trying to resurrect my French: it's a no-clutter activity!


Duchesse said...

I am finding bumbling toward fluency very challenging, and I enjoy languages- but would not call myself a natural. I too have some nifty memorized phrases (one of mine is "Je n'en ai pas" or "I don't have any", but marshalling syntax in real time with a rapid-speaking francophone is daunting.

Yesterday, in a meeting with a furrier (more on that later) my brain just froze and we resorted to drawing diagrams. Was so upset I marched into a bar and had a beer all by myself, something I've never done before.

J' ├ęspere que tu te portes mieux!

Revanche said...

I used to be better about learning languages, now I blanch a little. I WILL pick up some new ones just to keep the brain ticking over but it's so much harder to retain now.

And I've been sick going on two weeks now, isn't it horrid?

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchess--That EN always was hard for me (I can still hear my teacher: DE plus qqchose=en). Great template!

@Revanche--I'm STILL coughing--only not so much. Hope you are feeling better.