Category Archives: Polyglotting

The very very basics… Bonjour!

Classes are finally over and I get to live again. I get to learn all the things I want to learn during the entire summer and not the ones my textbooks impose on me. I get to start this summer with a clean slate.

Almost two months ago I decided to learn French for numerous reasons, but mostly because it has been a language I have always thought about but never really taken seriously. Now that I study literature and want to learn about the world, French appears to be everywhere. From the French names I can’t pronounce and the cuisine I’m unfamiliar with to the provinces and cities I have yet to explore in France. I have never been to Paris, and even though it seems to be on the top of everyone’s travel list, it’s not really on the top of mine. But it’s still there, because even if I’m not one of those true romantics, there’s still a certain magic that showers the city of love that I’m in love with.

That’s what I think about when I hear the language. French sounds like magic, it sounds like gloves holding a glass of cognac next to a gentleman with a mustache and a naked woman in a black and white image smoking a cigarette while  laying on top of her lover. French has a certain way of being silly and mysterious, It sounds like my next target.

I started the evening by typing “how to learn french” in Google, even though I’ve clearly learned throughout the years how to look for resources by picking up techniques for learning languages. I clicked on the Babbel site an started their basic lesson…

1. Bonjour!

2. Bienvenue!

3. Comment tu t’appelles?

4. Je suis Monica.

5. Ça va?

6. Bien, Merci.

From this lesson I learned that I’m going to be watching french films throughout the summer and that I’m going to start by focusing on how the language sounds. Once I get the phonetics right, everything else should be able to flow.

Bienvenue to my journey!

It’s time to learn French!

As I listen to “Je t’aime moi non plus” I realized that even though I don’t understand the lyrics, only the “Je t’aime” part of it, the tone explains a lot about the situation.

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French music is beautiful and it saddens me that I don’t understand what is being said in the songs. Besides this, when you study literature like I do, you encounter French everywhere and at some point I want to read the French classics in French and enjoy their literature as well. And how wonderful it would be to stroll down the streets of Paris talking to the locals in their native tongue. I know that French films have this sort of realistic, crude and artistic point of view and I want to understand them. So, because of all of this, I’ve decided that it’s time to learn French.

I remember that the first language I showed interest in learning was French. I was young an curious and loved to buy books at the Borders bookstore when they existed. I was 11 years old and I wanted to learn French. I already knew Spanish because it’s my native language and I learned English in school even though at the beginning I didn’t really like it.

So, my mom bought me a brand new Berlitz course that had just come out called “French Premier” and I went home and started the course. The course had 5 CD’s and it was a complete audio course. I don’t think I ever went past the first CD, I got bored at some point and put it aside.

Now, almost ten years later, I want to start again. It’s never too late, right? I still have that Berlitz course on my bookshelve always reminding me that some day I had to go back to French. Well, today is the day. There are much better resources now and the internet makes it really easy to learn languages, so there is no excuse.

I still remember a few greetings and phrases so I’ll start from there…

Bonjour! Je m’appelle Monica.