Friday, October 23, 2009

parlez-vous francais?

The only good thing about French is the food. Image via here
I feel rather like giving up. I am now in my third semester of French, and it's awful. Just awful. Foreign languages and I do not get along. So why am I taking it you ask. Well, it just so happens that the greatest major on campus (that would be mine- English teaching), has one little flaw- it requires you to take four semesters of a foreign language. I understand that it should theoretically help me be better at English. But it realistically is not. And I hate it. I have an oral exam that I have to take today at 5 (t-minus 2 1/2 hours), and a written exam to be taken on Monday (the last possible day). I thought I understood, and then today I went to class and realized that the majority of answers I wrote down on my review sheet were incorrect. And I wanted to cry. I almost did, but I didn't want to give my teacher the satisfaction. (Actually, he's an ok guy- I'm just not really a fan- and he doesn't hate me, despite what I may like to believe). So, after spending an hour with my teacher yesterday trying to understand the concepts I am to be tested on, and still not comprehending them, I want to give up. I do not care about French, never have. I don't understand it. I can't read, write, or speak it and I certainly don't understand others when they try to speak it. For example, today I asked a quesiton in class (in my broken French) and my teacher responded (in his non-broken French). I didn't understand a word of his explanation, but I felt too stupid to say so, so I just nodded and said 'okay'. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to get through this. But I guess we all have our trials right? And I guess this is mine.


Em said...

Immersion! You need immersion! Take a semester off and go to France! Or Quebec!
It will solve all your problems! (HA) and be a fabulous experience!
(I'm not even kidding - it will never be more plausible in your life than now)


Cam said...

>But I guess we all have our trials right? And I guess this is mine.<
My college class trial was math and chemistry. I had to take several math classes over. I needed to take 3 semesters of chemistry for my major, which at the time was Mechanical Engineering. I finished my 2nd semester of Chemistry by the skin of my teeth. When I began the 3rd and final semester, I KNEW there was NO WAY I could do another semester of memorizing p-orbital electrons and chemical reactions. It just did not compute. I ended up dropping out of school at the U, changing my major, and enrolling at Weber State, where I REALLY loved their program in Manufacturing Engineering Technology with a CAD/CAM emphasis. I especially liked the CAD (Computer-Aided Design) tools they had. I'm still working in this field 25 years later.

As far as foreign languages go, I studied German in High School for 3 years, not working all that hard and getting B's and C's. Then when I was called to a spanish speaking mission, I learned more Spanish in the first week in the old LTM (predecessor to MTC)than I had German in 3 years. Immersion and repetition help, but I'll tell you I still REALLY struggled to learn Spanish, which is suppose to be one of the easiest languages to learn. I became EXTREMELY discouraged about my slow pace of memorizing the discussions in Spanish, as it seemed to me to be attempting to memorize pages of unintelligible sounds. I never did memorize and retain them all while on my mission. I would learn parts, but then would forget them when not used frequently. Verb conjegation was also difficult for me.

After sharing all THAT, I'd recommend a tutor or frequent sessions with the instructor or teaching assistants. Make friends with someone who seems to be doing well in the class or use a current French-speaking friend who is willing to help you once or twice a week. Find a French speaking RM! :)

Jenny Dunn said...

haha lovely advice, thanks Uncle Cam.