Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Le francais me manque

I really miss speaking French all the time. Every day that I speak French and understand spoken French is a victory. I'm really proud of the fact that I learned another language and am relatively fluent in it. One of the reasons I want to go back to France is so that I don't forget all the French I've learned, and to continue learning and improving. Of course that is something that will always be true; whenever I leave France for good I will risk losing all the French I've worked so hard to acquire.

I was very excited to find that there is a French conversation group that meets every week here in Ann Arbor. I went tonight for the first time, and wow, it was so great to speak French again! I was a little rusty after not speaking it at all for two weeks, but after about 20 minutes I felt en forme. In general I don't like speaking French with other anglophones because I think you pick up bad habits and bad accents, but beggars cannot be choosers, and as it turns out most people have a pretty good French level, two of the girls have very good accents, and one of the guys is actually French. It works for now, but in the long run, it's a poor substitute for speaking French all day, every day.

I really hope I get to go back to France, but I know that the chances of that are pretty much 0. I am reevaluating my initial opposition to going back as a student. We'll see. Otherwise I can try to get internships in the summer.

9 comments:

Isabelle said...

You can watch the 1pm and 8pm news on TF1 (www.tf1.fr) or France 2 (www.france2.fr). You won't practice speaking but at least you will hear people speak French with no accents.

Reading books in French is also a very good training too.

shannon said...

I find that as long as you avoid the beginners, speaking with other anglophones isn't so bad. I'm mostly around the profs (actual Francophones... except I should probably avoid the very hot Quebecois b/c his accent is... interesting) and Masters students who speak amazing French or else there in the Phonetics class. My French and accent has improved leaps and bounds! Though it probably helps that I'm a visual learner and not an auditive learner. I can't tell the difference between a lot of sounds (But that's getting better now!).

And how come after 8 years of formally studying in French, no one taught me the correct movements of the mouth when saying things? Now, I'm obsessed with watching French people's mouths. Probably why I'm starting to hear differences, because I know the movements of the mouth!

So yeah, I guess it depends on learning styles.

shannon said...

And pretend like I wrote "they're in" and not "there in". English, not my strong point at the moment.

Andromeda said...

There's tons of online radios to listen to, in addition to the news sites. How close are you to a university? Would it cost a lot to audit a class or two? Or get language lab privileges for a semester?

au soleil levant said...

I watch France 2 and France 3 Picardie news every night and I'm in the middle of reading a collection of short stories in French. I also bought a couple of cahiers de vacanes in French to practice written French. So I'm taking the steps to keep up with the written and listening parts, I'm really just concerned about speaking, because in my experience the spoken part is the most difficult skill to maintain and the first skill to go when you aren't speaking it every day. And usually to have a conversation it's best to have another person involved :)

shannon said...

I faithfully download the podcast of France 3 Picardie every afternoon and evening. Though it mostly serves to crack me up. But I must admit the Ile de France one wasn't much better. Is the France 2 one more serious?

au soleil levant said...

Yeah, France 2 is more like the evening news in the US. Mostly stories about events in France.

If you remember Pantsless Neighbor from last year, he was a journalist, and he told me that in L'Union they don't cover "real" news stories because people aren't really interested in them. That and the fact that nothing happens in Aisne!

Zhu said...

Tu peux regarder beaucoup de programmes français sur internet, comme ici:

http://info.francetelevisions.fr/

Je sais, ce n'est pas pareil...

Est-ce tu peux trouver un travail où tu parles français?

au soleil levant said...

Pour un travail a Michigan en francais, je sais pas, peut-etre. C'est une tres bonne idee, si je reste (ou quand je me rends compte que je dois rester parce que j'ai pas de visa pour travailler en France!) je essayerai de trouver un travail ou je peux parler francais.