I started my extensive French language class at Alliance Français on Monday. The gist is that I’m in class for three and a half hours Monday-Friday with about nine other students from around the globe.
Most of my classmates are American (x4), including the wife of one of Jim’s coworkers. The remainder hail from Japan, Cambodia, Thailand (x2), Brazil, and Italy. English appears to be the common language that everyone in class speaks, though English is never spoken in the actual class.
One other weird thing…I had to buy a portable CD player. Yes, that’s correct. The book came with an audio CD for the homework that I have to listen to. We (currently) have three different laptops in our apartment, but none of them have a CD drive. So, I had to buy a portable CD player at the FNAC down the street. Believe me when I say I got a VERY strange look at the cash wrap when I showed up with only that. Sigh.
I finished day three today, and so far we’ve learned the ABCs (pronunciation was key here), counting up to 60 (after 69 things start to get a little tricky), nationalities, greetings, how to say our name/ask someone’s name, the months & days, various other calendar phrases/words, and a load of vocabulary. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s actually a decent amount to learn.
I think I might be the only person with zero French experience, but I think I’m also the only person with a background in Spanish (which I hear will be quite a plus for me later on). The Italian fellow, I can tell, tries to pronounce things like you would in Italian/Spanish. I’ve been using Duolingo (15% fluent) since we found out we’d be moving to France, but I feel like my pronunciation has improved about 10 fold since having a chance to sit with a teacher and be forced to say things over and over.
Here’s a little of what I’ve learned so far:
Bonjour! Je m’appelle Victoria et je suis américaine (du pays les états-unis). Je n’habite pas San Francisco (anymore). Je habite Toulouse. Je parle anglais et j’apprends le français. Et vous ou et toi?
Aujuord’hui: mercredi 1er juin. Demain: lundi 2 juin. Hier: mardi 31 mai.
A few other things I’ve learned…countries that end in an ‘e’ are typically feminine except for Mexico (Mexique), Cambodia (Cambodge), Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. I also now understand why a female dog is la chienne (vs. the male dog, which is le chien). Basically, it follows form for nationalities, as well: Canadien (male) and Canadienne (female).
I also found out I’ve been thinking bonne journée was a completely different word. But, I’m happy to find the actual translation is: have a nice day. Now I feel fancy that so many folks at the market end our transactions telling me to have a nice day. I’m also glad I end nearly all of my interactions with the French with bonne journée or bonne soirée (have a good night/evening). I also learned the work for backpack (le sac à dos)! No one else in my class seemed that enthused with that one, but that’ll definitely come in handy for me.
I’m feeling somewhat excited to try out some of my new phrases with my favorite guy at Marché Victor Hugo. He’s been giving me extra produce lately, so I want to find out his name, where he’s from, and how he’s doing as well as share my info. I’ll also have to start listening (more) to other people’s conversations at the market…because I swear they’re having REALLY long conversations about all kinds of things, and I want to have them, too.
Some of my new, favorite phrases:
Répétez, s’il vous plaît. Repeat, please.
Comment ça se prononce? How is it pronounced? (I will use this A LOT at restaurants)
Comment on dit ___ en français? How do you say ___ in French? (I used this in class already and will use it all over)
Comment ça s’ecrit ou Comment ça s’épelle? How do you write it or how do you spell it? (This is also a handy phrase now that I know the alphabet).
Bonne soirée, mes amis!