French With Friends

126 French Books

Learning a new language is always . . . always an adventure.

I’ve decided to learn a new language. French. Why, you’re asking, if you live in Germany would you be learning French? Such a good question. I have a bit of a complicated answer. We now live minutes from the French border in the Black Forest. Near the wine country of Alsace. I’m absolutely in love with the small villages that wind their way up the valley wedged between the Rhine River and the Vosges Mountains. It’s breathtaking scenery, and the people are delightful.

I speak Spanish. I’ve learned that because of this, I’m not entirely lost when people are speaking French. Not entirely. I speak German, somewhat. They speak Alsatian there, which is a form of German. And some people speak a bit of English. All the same, these villages are in France, where they speak French.

127 Jean Diedrich Shop

I’m setting my second novel in one of these small villages, Kaysersberg. I’ve written about it in previous posts. I’ve stayed there in the past for short visits, but this fall we will spend a full month in the same apartment from our previous trip. I am determined to be able to speak, if only like a five year old, to our many new friends there, in their language. French.

I’m currently using a program by Pimsleur,  goFrench. You listen and repeat. No dictionary, no books, you cannot look at a French word. Only listen! These are the rules. I’m afraid if I cheat and look up a word in my stack of books, the CD will immediately begin to self-destruct. Now I have you thinking of Mission Impossible, a likely title for this new adventure of mine. But what I want you to be thinking about is Friends. The sit-com. I was reminded of the episode where Joey was learning guitar from Phoebe. She would only let him practice the chords with his hands in the air, not touching the guitar. This is how I feel. (This is where I must confess I am a visual learner. It’s been difficult.) That being said, if you heard me repeating after the native speakers YOU’D be reminded of yet another episode of Friends. The one where Joey is learning French from, you guessed it, Phoebe. She would say a phrase and he would repeat it. The problem was it sounded nothing like what she’d just said. Get the picture?

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(Me, pretending to be French.)

I am determined! I’ll let you know how it goes. I have till October. I’d love to close this post with a lovely French phrase, but I don’t know how to read or write anything I’ve been saying. Ha!

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