I may have mentioned that, along with my scholarly studies, reality TV binge-watching, and procrastination disguised as mindful meditation, I have diligently and competitively taken up French.
The language, not the lifestyle, sadly.
The French language is so beautiful, but it is difficult. So far, I have learned over 1500 words, and yet when I try to put together a simple sentence to show off to friends, I can only think of one word: Mange. Mange means to eat. Eating is a favorite activity of mine, and of course, it makes perfect sense that I would remember it in French. I also know french fries, french toast, and French-pressed coffee. Oh yeah, and croissant. That one really is French. Delectably French. I could totally mange on a yummy croissant right now, in fact!
Mais je digress…
So, you are probably wondering (if you are still awake) why I would tackle this new and (I will say it again, in case you missed it) DIFFICULT language. I am still pondering that myself. Most of the time, I make a Pros and Cons list before beginning a journey that might take me through the gates of hell. This time, however, I covered both eyes and jumped into the deep end of the Duolingo language app. You can do that because the cool little app will even read to you.
Gawd, I love technology.
My learning process includes speaking, reading, spelling, making sentences that look way longer than the English equivalents, and cursing. I can’t curse in French yet, but that day is coming. Meanwhile, my tried, true, and practiced expletives fly every time I try to figure out which verb goes where. I am consistently inconsistent and frequently choose a different verb tense for the same damned sentence because my French retention sucks.
The art of speaking French eludes me. I can read a lot of it now, but when I try to speak, I sound like a donkey with a sore throat or a very confused parrot. The verb tenses torture my delicate sensibilities; I kid you not! Each verb tense sounds exactly the same. For example, let’s go back to my favorite French word, mange. See below. Caution! It’s deceptive!
I (Je) mange
You (tu) manges
They (Ils) mangent
We (nous) mangeons
You notice how each tense has a different ending, right? WELLLLL, it is all a ruse, people. When I listen to the little cartoon dude in Duolingo, he says mange for every single tense of the verb! It is driving me bananas! And to bruise my ego even further, Duolingo wants me to type back what the little dude says. I get it correct about 25% of the time. I came up with that number because there are four choices and that’s as close as I want to get to math.
Is it time to throw my hands up in the air and say Fuck IT, Duolingo? Should I just go to Spain instead of Paris when I go to Europe? Yeah, that’s what I should do. I can speak a little Spanish, and when verbs are pronounced, you can actually hear the difference…..well, if you slow the sound down and maybe play it over and over. But I am nothing if not a patient pontificator!
Whew, that felt good. But I love French! I cannot quit. I think I love the little Duolingo dude, too. Love is love, people.
Viva le France!
Thank you for visiting my little creative space. I get a little crazy sometimes, but it’s all in fun. I love it when you visit. Please come back if you enjoyed my ramblings. Have a wonderful week, be kind, and find your joy!