My interest in French developed only during the last year as I had made contact with a lot of international students from France.
Back in school when we were faced with the decision to either learn French or Spanish, I took Spanish without a second thought. French always had this slightly snobbish sound to me and it still has to some extend (positively!), but apart from that it's a rather elegant and beautiful sounding language in my opinion.
I'm skeptical to begin with when it comes to a future motivation to study further as I might start mixing French and Spanish at some point due to affinity, but we'll see how this turns out. Another point is that I can't yet relate to French culture at all. Unlike Spanish and Japanese, I don't feel like visiting France or any francophone country any time soon. But again, maybe diving into an unknown language might change that as well.
Thanks to my part-time job I have access to a rather large library of language study material, so I helped myself and brought home some few books. (And borrowed several others from the local library.)
And that‘s about it for preparations... I‘m not quite sure which of these books I‘m going to use (regularly), but one had a small vocabulary booklet with it that displays the words with their pronunciation and I guess that will become pretty handy pretty quickly.
The first 10 hours of my challenge have passed and I'd like to give you a short update.
My very first impression after I opened my textbook (highly motivated) was "How will I ever be able to pronounce all those words properly?“ and my motivation was slapped right in the face for the first time. There was an endless amount of vowels strung together in almost every word and everywhere I looked I read something about „liaison“. What was that supposed to mean?
I have to admit, starting off with a book about grammar and reading its 20 pages about French pronunciation might not have been the best idea, but that's what I did. So after this rather clumsy first approach, I altered my plan and stuck with one of the textbooks that would normally be used in language classes guided by a teacher. But as I'm not attending any, I hoped it would serve its purpose for auto-didactic studying as well. And it did!
I didn't come as far as I wanted within those first ten hours due to very inconsistent learning (the plan was to learn every day, but the plan remained a plan, sadly) and countless repetitions of the audio files in oder to get the hang of "liaison“ and "vocal-chains“. So right now, I'd dare to say that I could slowly pronounce a French word correctly with a tiny bit of self confidence and without my vocabulary book open right next to me.
And as a grand premiere, here's an attempt to introduce myself in French with very short sentences. Tadah!
Je m'appelle Sandra et je suis de Allemagne. Je travaille dans l'université, mais je suis étudiante.
J'aime les langues et je parle allemand, anglais, espagnol et japonais.
Yeah. So the next steps are verb conjugations and adjective-noun-combinations so I will be able to glue together my very own sentences. Let's do this!
The year comes to an end and so does my first 24 hours challenge.
To be perfectly honest with you, I've spend the last few hours of my challenge rather lazy.
Due to Christmas preparations and then actually Christmas happening, I had little time and little motivation to steal myself away from all the festivities to learn at my desk. And so I decided to watch some French movies with German subtitles, to get at least a tiny bit of stimulus. The amount of French I understood was, of course, rather small, but it was a lot of fun, I saw two really great movies, La délicatesse and Divines (plus one Harry Potter movie, that I already watched in English) and grasped a bit of negation and sentence structures I already knew.
Looking back at the last 24 hours now, there are a lot of things that definitely need improvement and 24 hours might even be a bit too much time to try out a new language, but all in all was it a great experience. French is still a language that fascinates me and that I think is incredible beautiful to talk and to listen to.
So, will I continue learning French? - Probably not (now). Starting a language that draws a lot of its beauty from its pronunciation without visiting an actual language class or having someone that helps you with pronunciation somehow prevented me from staying motivitated in the long run. I'd stick to my vocabulary book most of the time and double-check words for their pronunciation, because I didn't want to learn them the wrong way. And this again prevented me from learning in between, because how could I be sure it'd be studying correctly?
I definitely won't rule out that I'll continue learning French again in the future, but I guess I'll take a language class guided attempt next time.
November & December 2016
Hej! My name is Sandra, I am a language enthusiast from Germany and this is where I document my language learning journey.
I will share my study goals with you, talk about the ups and downs in language learning, try out cool challenges and show you study methods that I found particularly helpful. Making myself accountable here will hopefully give me some extra motivational boosts!
All main articles will eventually be translated into the four languages I am most comfortable with: German, English, Spanish and Japanese. Older posts can be found under "Archive" and are sorted in order of date.
You won't find a comment section under my posts, so if you feel like chatting a bit, or talking about language-y things feel free to message me on social media or write me an email!
Enjoy your stay and happy studying!