Learn French from Scratch is going to be a series of blog posts which I will focus on mainly because I am putting myself in the shoe of a student going for French class. For the next couple of months, I will be the eyes and ears of my own experience inside a French classroom.
My French learning journey began last week when I signed up for a Beginner’s course just so that I could start afresh with French. I was part of the French Club in the early 2000s when I was a Polytechnic student. I learned French but did not commit myself in mastering that language. So as time went by, the knowledge of French language slowly faded and I was back to square one — my bilingual self.
After learning Russian for two years (2016 and 2017), I decided to learn a new language this year! Don’t get me wrong, I am still learning Russian, but at a slower pace, since I have already committed myself to learn French.
While learning French, I did myself a favor by revising my Russian from time to time in order to retain what I learned. To do this, I use Duolingo, an app that motivates me to learn languages. Concurrently, I use SuperMemo, another app that retains my Russian vocabulary. I highly recommend these apps as they can be rather useful for language learners.
Why do I learn French?
There are many reasons, really.
Personally, I chose to learn French because I would like to visit France one day, as well as touring the whole of Europe on my own. That’s the first reason.
The second reason is that I thought French sounds like a very beautiful language to me — the way French words are pronounced and sentences expressed can be such music to my ears!
Thirdly, I would like to teach English to people in foreign countries someday, and that requires some knowledge of foreign languages. French is just one of those languages that are commonly spoken by people in Africa, and there are still many people in the world who want to learn English for commercial or entrepreneurial reasons.
My fourth reason is that going to France and the rest of Europe is still on my bucket list. Being able to converse in French will enhance my tourist experience as I travel, especially to France. French culture and music is something I like as well, so that is why I chose French as one of the few languages I learn.
How did my first lesson go?
So, I started my first Beginner’s French last Sunday, and it was supposed to be a progressive class where the teacher guides us according to our learning pace. I do really appreciate his guidance as that was what I need as a learner myself.
I can try to use Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) to accelerate my learning process, however, I thought that since I’m in the Beginner’s class, it’s best for me to give myself some space and time to absorb whatever I need to know about French. And then, let myself have some fun with the language!
The First French Lesson
First thing I learned in French was “Bonjour” (bɔ̃ʒuʁ), which means “Hello” in English. There are other similar French salutations such as “Salut” (saly), and “Bonjour à tous” (bɔ̃ʒuʁ a tu), which means “hello everyone”.
Bonjour! Je m’appelle Thomas. (bɔ̃ʒuʁ! ʒə mapɛl tɔma.) — Hello! My name is Thomas. Literally, the French sentence means “I call myself Thomas”.
J’ai trente-cinq ans (ʒə tʁɑ̃t-sɛ̃k ɑ̃) — I am thirty-five years old. In French, they say it as “I have thirty-five years”.
Then came the months of the year, which is known as ‘Le mois’ (lə mwa) in French:
Then came the days of the week, which is known as ‘Les jours de la semaine’ (lɛ ʒuʀ də la səmɛn) in French:
And then, we learned the seasons, known as ‘Les saisons’ (lɛ sɛzɔ̃) in French:
We also learned a few French festivals and their dates in French:
- Le Saint Valentin est le quatorze février.
- St Valentine’s Day is on 14 February.
- La fête du travail est le premier mai.
- Labour’s Day is on 1 May.
- La fête de la musique est le vingt et un juin.
- Musical Festival is on 21 June.
- La fête nationale est le quatorze juillet.
- National Day is on 14 July.
- Noël est le vingt-cinq décembre.
- Christmas is on 25 December.
We learned about French pronouns and had a sneak peek at French verb conjugations.
And finally, we learned a few more phrases on self-introduction in French using basic verb conjugations.
That's all for Leçon 1! Looking forward to the next French lesson this weekend.
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