Monday, June 3, 2013

Word by Word, Phrase by Phrase

Finally gaining some mental traction in learning the language of my new home, now that I have a few days of non-travel and time alone.

I am building up sufficient confidence to not only repeat the words and phrases back to my new girlfriend, Rosetta Stone, but even to inject a bit of emotion and nuance into my pronunciation. (Next thing, I might throw in some hand gestures or body language!)

The most difficult aspects, thus far, are the pronunciations (a lot of silent letters and letter groups) and the various gender-dependent and singular/plural tenses (le, la, il, ils, elle, du, de, des, un, une, a, ont, etc.)

Of course, it's easy to do repetitive exercises with multiple-choice images which reinforce the words and phrases being learned. Not to mention the luxury of taking my time to think about the words and their English equivalents. Quite another thing to take my nascent Francais skills to the street and try to listen to the rapid-fire of the native speakers, each with their unique dialects and accents.

I do love a challenge, though, and I'm told it is much more difficult for an adult to learn a new language than for a child. At 62, can this old dog learn a new trick or two?

In a small village like Argeles-sur-mer, where there's less incentive to learn English than in larger tourist destinations, many of the local residents speak only French. Therefore, I am compelled to give it my best shot if I am to integrate in the society day-by-day.

I am in awe of people who speak more than two languages. Although I may in the future be able to argue functional knowledge of three - American English, French, and Texan. Comprendez-vous fixin to? 

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