Thursday, November 3, 2011

6 weeks challenge

It's day 3 and I'm already frustrated because I don't learn French quickly enough. :-D

No I shouldn't. Really.

This is the truth about my French:

I have studied French off and on for 25 years. I have studied French "seriously" for one semester. With "serious" I mean I stuck to it for longer period than a week, and actually worked with it. I did that in School - for three months.

So, if you count everything together, I might have... 100 hours of French under my belt. My pronunciation is okay, I have a couple of thousand words' vocabulary and I understand perhaps 30% of written French (and 5% of spoken :-D).

And it's not even close "enough". I try to have discussions in my head in French, I try to think in French, and there just isn't enough concepts, words, knowledge of the language for me to be able to do that, and IT'S DAMN FRUSTRATING!!!

Anyway, I'm trying to learn by watching French movies.
I love Gerard Depardieu and French Baroque, Alexandre Dumas etc, so so far I've seen Le Roi Danse and I'm watching Le Comte de Monte Cristo. Both had English subtitles, and now I'm wondering if that is a good idea... "because I'm not learning anything!!!"

I try to tell myself that I would learn even less if I tried to understand what happens based on understanding every 20th word, a couple of phrases here and there, and having a basic understanding of what the story is all about... I'm trying to tell myself to be patient, let it have its time, take it easy...

BTW, I had fun yesterday with parsing Celine Dion's "pour que tu m'aime encore", and I did learn something... There's a word étincelle in the song, and yesterday le comte used the same word - he was talking about making the étincelle into all-burning fire or something to that sense. I caught it :-D

Now, just watching the movie would probably work, but here's what Thomas says about learning language with the help of movies: Project Mayhem – Learning a Foreign Language Through Movies

Now, I'm not doing THAT.

I wonder if I should find the Count of Monte Cristo in Librivox in French, and read that alongside with watching the movie (or tv mini series, that is. It's done in four parts.)

Le Comte de Monté-Cristo - French book
Le Comte de Monté-Cristo - French audiobook 
The Count of Monte-Cristo - English book 

Back to the movie.

Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favorite stories and the French version with Gerard Depardieu is one of my favorite versions of it. It has been uploaded on YouTube in several bits, about 5-10 minutes each, so I suppose I could do it the Thomas way...


  1. Hi,

    Yeah, French is quite tough language to learn. However, if you get accostumed to pronunciation, it should be a little bit easier. I had a chance to do a french course in Paris, so for me it was more natural transition. Now, I have any problem when speaking with the natives (although still lot to improve if it comes to voc).

    If I could recommand something: it is better to read contemporary literature. The vocabulary is kinda easier than in books like The Count Monte Cristo. It's possible to understand even for a learner with elementary level. Also newspapers and TV programmes are kind of useful.

  2. Hi!
    So nice of you to come by my blog :-)

    It would be better to read contemporary literature and texts, I agree with you on that, but I had other reasons to choose what I chose.

    1) There isn't that much of contemporary French literature available in our library, at least not with both L1, L2 and audio version, and I can't afford to buy them. Librivox and public domain was the easiest way for me.

    2) One needs to read something one is interested in, and I happen to be in love with Alexandre Dumas and Jules Verne. Alexandre Dumas' books were the reason to why I wanted to learn French in the first place. I know I will be learning some archaic and obsolete forms and words, but it will still be French - the core of the language will be sound. :-)

    Also, I'm not ONLY reading CMC. I do listen to radio, watch television, oogle newspapers etc.