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May 1, 2011 | French

Learning Challenges

Ow. When your back hurts, it is harder to study.

After my transcendent run about 10 days ago, things went to hell with my back, and it became quite painful to type, and indeed to do most things.

Heading to French Class Monday Night

Heading to French Class Monday Night

Although I have kept up religiously with the French grammar exercises, blogging has been a bit much, since it requires the use of a keyboard. Hence the unusually long delays between reports.

So, I am turning to the experts. On Wednesday I start physical therapy, which I hate, and I am also getting an MRI of my lower back. I seriously doubt it will show anything, but I am following my doctor’s recommendation.

Besides, I have to make sure I stay functional to withstand the rigors of French grammar. And after that, of Polish.

Fortunately, walking is much less painful than writing, so I made sure not to miss this week’s French conversation class at the French Institute Alliance Française.

Central Park's Bethesda Fountain, Passed Friday on My Way to Doctor's Office

Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain, Passed Friday on My Way to Doctor’s Office

The discussion was wide-ranging and included topics such as:

  • sports we like and why
  • the invasion of Normandy
  • how the women in the class would rate the attractiveness of certain male soccer players and Ultimate Fighting champions on a scale from 1 to 10 (as an example, Cristiano Ronaldo’s scores ranged from 8 to 10, with some students abstaining)

Yep, we do manage to make our way through a lot of subjects in 90 minutes.

Outside of class, as I continue to study on my own, I am struck by how many words in French are identical, at least in writing, to their English translations.

“Indulgent” is indulgent(e), “strict” is strict(e), “competent” is competent(e). I could go on for days on this point.

Sometimes it’s almost as though one is not even studying.

Comments (1)

Katherine • Posted on Tue, May 03, 2011 - 1:08 pm EST

French vocabulary is surprisingly similar to English.  I remember growing up always hearing that French is a very hard language to learn.  I couldn’t agree less with that statement! In fact, reading French literature is not as difficult as you would think.  Many ‘big words’ as we say in English, words that don’t come up in every day language but you sometimes find in literature, are the same in both languages.  For example omnipresence.  Not a typical word for flashcards.  Literary? Yes.  French translation- you guessed it, omnipr├ęsence. The list of words like that is a long one. A good book to practice your reading on is Camus’ The Stranger.

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