As any language student knows, the journey to acquiring another language is long. The road to french is no different. I have found it is made up of twists and turns as I juggle nouns genders, articles and prepositions. I face inclines in the forms of conjugaison and pronom relatifs, and many speed bumps trying to correctly use ”en” and ”y” not to mention the biggest roadblock of all – subjonctif. but there are days, where I form a perfect sentences. I have the correct word order, noun gender and complementing adjective and I communicate my message exactly as I mean to, on those days I feel like I finally found the highway after a maze of dead ends, I am triumphant and confident and my love of french is restored.
I have been learning French since the end of 2017, but for most of 2018, it was in more of a stop-start way than something consistent. Every time it became too hard or I was lazy or busy or tired, I stopped for weeks only to begin again with renewed motivation only to find I had to re-learn so much because I kept forgetting rules and words and spelling. So in 2019 I promised myself I would progress better and put in more effort to learn this language not only for the purpose of getting my degree but because I really do love French, I love the accent and sound of it and I am interested in the culture. I also really love hearing myself speak in another language, discovering myself in a new way and I love the way speaking in a foreign language forces me to think differently and to communicate effectively in a totally different way to what I am used to, being an English native speaker. I slowly began to listen to more French, in the form of podcasts and Youtube videos, I enrolled in an intermediate course to improve my skills, I read more pages in my many French books and lucky for me I get to practice speaking and texting in French to my boyfriend and friends I made online. Has this helped me improve? Honestly, I would say yes in the weeks where I really immerse myself in French, when it’s constantly in my brain, when sometimes while speaking in English the odd French words pop out like oui or mais or c’est. But there are lazy days and exhausting days and busy days where I don’t listen or practise and these days I know are setting me back.
I made this blog for two reasons, one of them being that I could track my progress publicly, which I hope would push me to make more of an effort daily to work on French even if all I have is five minutes to listen to a podcast while I wash the dishes or shower. The other reason is that I have not been able to find a personal blog of a language student, just sharing their ideas, struggles, progress and the things that worked and how, in a personal way. There are so many websites and blogs where the aim is to teach, or offer help in a ”teacherly” way albeit informally, and the same on Youtube (maybe I am not looking in the right places so if someone out there ever reads this post and has some links, do share them), and while there are videos online where people share their story, it’s usually ‘’I listened to podcasts, I watched movies, I read books, I spoke to natives, I was motivated’’ yes we know the ways to acquire a language but I want to know the nitty-gritty of someone’s journey. I want to know exactly how much effort they put it, how they made up for their lazy days, how they navigate the tricky and stagnant intermediate level. I want to know if listening to music really worked? And how many songs later? And is journaling in a foreign language effective? Or using flashcards? (Personally, I found flashcards to be ineffective for me).
For that reason, I decided to share mine. Because if there’s one thing I realised about this journey it is that it is long and the progress is sometimes big but most often small even with a steady routine. And I hope someone out there could relate and share all the little details of their language learning journey too.