September 28th, 2014
|11:07 am - Day #17, 30 Days of Appreciation: Accepting the Things I Don't Know|
The older I get, the more I realize I know nothing. ;)
Or rather, I know some things, but in the grand scheme of the universe I am but a small, not particularly deep pool.
This fact has been brought home to me as I try to learn French (thank you, Rosetta Stone) at my slightly advanced age. It's instructive to be frankly not very good at this, but also to see small incremental progress as I go forward.
I'm actually fair quick at picking up reading vocabulary -- reading is how I usually learn things anyway -- although the Rosetta Stone practice of embedding information in exercises and pictures without offering dictionary help I have occasionally found frustrating. Yesterday, for instance, I was following along when I was offered "leur" and "leurs" as new words. My reaction was "what the actual hell I cannot figure that out from context," click click click through the exercise, "OHHHHH. They're possessives. 'Kay." I felt a childish pride in getting that, to be honest.
But not to worry, I won't get a swelled head, because I am epically bad at speaking. The program likes to make its WRONG noise at least a third of the time I essay speech. I am slightly better at listening, but again, because I process things through reading, all the words where half of their letters are silent mess me up. But I persevere.
Seriously, I am grateful to be reminded of what I don't know, and I am grateful to be learning, even if it's slowly, at the pace of un escargot.
What have you learned lately? May you have only the best teachers and lessons. :)
French pronunciation is the most demanding. I've studied a lot of languages, and for most of them, the native speakers are very forgiving* and willing to make some guesses about what you're trying to say, but the French! A dear friend is a French teacher from Normandy, and I'm almost afraid to say even the name of a French city around her because she will correct me in public as if I were a bad student on the back row! And I've had servers in French cafes all but laugh when I ordered food. (I studied French very young and for a long time, but never lived in a francophone country).
But I love the French language and the French people (and food, and style, and champagne...), and in the smaller towns, where they don't all speak English, they put up with weird accents. And in Canada and countries like Cameroon, they are much easier to understand and to emulate.
Bear in mind that learning a new language is always very good for the brain, and razzberry back at the "wrong" noise!
*I did cause everyone in a Chinese grocery store to ROFL when I tried to ask for sugar. Always wondered what I said...
I am assured by my friends that if I at least make an effort in Paris to speak French, that'll be enough good faith for the Parisians to speak English (esp considering how badly I mangle French pronunciation!). They testify from experience. :)
I'm actually enjoying the learning process, bad as I am at speaking. I know more French words than I thought I did at the beginning.
Cheers and hugs to you!
Indeed, that was my experience. Not trying French will get unpleasant reactions. And the nice thing is that so many English words come from French that many words are similar (but sometimes that's a false lead, of course).
One day a car salesman realized that a new customer was waiting for service. It was a snail, and the snail was very interested in a speedy little sports car. After showing the snail several snazzy little cars, the salesman was bemused to see the tiny creature zoom off in a Porsche S model. A fellow salesman, seeing the bemused expression, looked after the vanishing snail and said, "Wow, look at that S-car go!"
HA! Oh dear.
Cheers for your joke and for you.
|Date:||September 28th, 2014 08:22 pm (UTC)|| |
I took French in school...I don't know how much success I would have had trying to learn it on my own! It's a tough one. :-)
It's so counter-intuitive for me, because the written words are so different from the spoken! And then we have the additional problem of my difficulty in properly sounding the letter 'r'. ;)
|Date:||September 29th, 2014 12:55 am (UTC)|| |
What have I learned lately? More than I really wanted to know about the Fukushima disaster, and a lot of very confusing facts about the Hundred Years War. I succumbed to the new books shelf at the library.
Also that Eleanor Roosevelt was even more awesome than I knew, and should have been President herself.
Good on you with the French! Do you find yourself confusing French with similar English words? I learned Spanish in elementary school, and French in junior high, and sometimes I get the bits I remember confused from language to language.
Bonne chance et bon voyage!
What a cool (if depressing re Fukushima) set of things to learn.
And yes, I confuse French with Spanish all the time. (Spanish is easier.)
Hugs to you!
|Date:||September 29th, 2014 12:59 pm (UTC)|| |
I took one semester of French in high school and that was it, so I applaud you're perseverance :)
I've taken Spanish and German, but I'm fluent in neither. Alas.
Cheers to you!
|Date:||September 29th, 2014 05:54 pm (UTC)|| |
Alas, I just failed a pronunciation test!
We persevere. :)