Entrenched in French

It’s 3:30 AM, and instead of sleeping, I’m trying out different ways of folding shirts.

In the morning I leave for Paris. I’ll spend a week or two there, see some cool friends, walk around, take photos, sit in cafes and just generally be awesomely pretentious. After all, it’s Paris we’re talking about here.

However, I’m thinking of doing a little language experiment with my French. It will consist of the following:

I will listen to the conversations around me. I will buy a French newspaper every day and read it in a café. Pretentiously. I will, in general, really try to understand the French which will surround me every day. I’ll also try using it a bit, though I’d like to focus on the input more than on the output.

Also, I haven’t, and will not, read any French grammar book of any kind since highschool (3 years ago). I think I’m armed with enough stuff to be able to make progress simply by being exposed to French.

My arsenal is:

Complete fluency in English, which gives me lots of vocab.

10 years of French in highschool. I’ve said repeatedly that even after a decade my French is very basic, but all those years have engrained some core spelling and grammar rules, and also a simple vocabulary, so I think these things will slowly rise to the surface and help me as I’m getting more and more French input

A basic knowledge of Spanish, which I’ve studied for 4 or 5 months. However, I’m finding connections in the vocabulary, so I’m listing it as useful.

A relaxed attitude. This is not a marathon, chore or whatever. I’m simply gonna try enriching my time in Paris by trying to understand all that French around me.

3-4 hours of Michel Thomas’ French course. I think it’s a very cool method, as it makes you repeat a small number words over and over again, combining them in different ways, all the while slowly expanding your vocabulary.

Some articles I’ll dig up in the morning in French, possibly from Wikipedia, and possibly pretentiously about language theory. I’ll read them in the bus to Paris.

So, let’s see what happens after 1-2 weeks. To make a comparison, I’ve recorded myself talking some random stuff in my poor French, and I’ve also written a few lines. I have a pretty good idea how sucky this is, but I don’t really want to go into details about what’s correct and what’s not. I simply want to see what my output will be like when I come back and compare it to this output.

Maintenant je suis a ma chambre. Je dois dormir, mais je ne peux pas, parce’que je dois finir la preparation pour mes vacanses a Paris. Je ne sais pas de quoi je veux parler. Peut etre, je peux parler de fromage. Omlete du fromage. J’ai aime voir Dexter’s Laboratory quand j’ etais un enfant.

Je vais dormir maintenant. Bon nuit!


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