Wednesday, October 01, 2008

French Lessons


I have a love/hate relationship with French. Between two classes, I'm in a constant state of confusion, or as the French would say "Je perds le nord," literally "I lose the north."

According to Corey Amara of Tongue in Cheek, "The best way to learn French is to fall in love."

And I think she has the secret. Maybe my approach has been too pragmatic. Maybe I need to let myself fall, hard. Corey's French life suits her: husband, village, antiques, la langue. Maybe I'm already closer than I think. Corey has me sick with longing for France, for baguettes fraiche from la boulangerie, for les marché aux puces. Envy is a sin, I know, but love, is the greatest of the virtues, n'est ce pas? Corey undoubtedly had her French Husband in mind when she made her claim. But I don't think falling in love necessitates romance with a person. You can love a culture, its people and its language, can't you? I do.

It may be tempting to think the best way will be the easy way to learn. Ce ne vrais pas. There is risk in learning a new language. There are bumps along the way. You could slip up and say something stupid. Or worse, you could mispronounce something. (You know what they say, the French don't care what you say as long as you pronounce it correctly!) But anyone who's ever learned anything has learned first to take those risks. When you've loved you've learned that too is a risk, and taking the risk doesn't necessarily pave a smooth road. Only you find that when you love, it makes the going worthwhile. In spite of my frustrations, I'm enjoying this journey. Je t'aime français.

Image: A Vocation by William Bouguereau, courtesy of LAF.

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