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For the longest time, I have wanted to learn another language. English is my first language, and then I was enrolled in a Spanish class for ten years. Over the past few years, I attempted (emphasis on attempted) to add Mandarin, American Sign Language (ASL), and some Arabic as a form of communication. Yet, with the lack of practice, I did not retain anything I once knew. 2021 will be the year I learn a new language.

French is a language that is practiced among many members of my maternal side, plus my mother’s full name is French. I have always found the culture, cuisines, and language beautiful and something I would love to experience and cherish. I also share a love for many French musicians. So with all that, I decided that this will be the next language I become proficient at (and yes, I am speaking this into existence through this article). Now that I am set on the language, the next step is assessing how I will accomplish this.

I will be learning French from the convenience of my home, without a specific taught course. After doing endless hours of research, I discovered that one of the best ways to obtain a language is by doing it the way babies do. They are not learning the components of a kitchen, zoo animals, or other infrequent day-to-day topics, like individuals may be taught in a classroom setting. Instead, infants are listening. They pick up on the context clues and overall picture, allowing them to form a greater knowledge of the language. I chose to start the way babies do with children’s picture books. The first one I read was Chicken Little. It helped by having a previous understanding of the storyline in order to tell what some of the words may translate to and the context. Then I read The Three Little Pigs, another classic tale. With some of the French-speaking musicians I am fond of, I began reading and decoding the lyrics as I listened.

I love taking notes and making aesthetic notecards, but with this journey, I will be strictly listening to podcasts, YouTube videos, music, and audio recordings of books read-aloud to acquire the French language. As well as reading news articles of topics I am already aware of. I will be taking notes here and there, but nothing too extensive. For example, much of the notes I have taken are on conjugating verbs and some of the most common French words. It is essential to look into the commonly used words or phrases of a language, as those will be the ones needed to converse. As I improve, I will extend my vocabulary with more of the French language-specific topics. 

I hope to one day take this language to France and have conversations with native French speakers. Who knows, this language could be the catalyst to a life-long passion for France and be the reason I could decide to move there in the future. This is the start of something life-changing, and I could not be more excited. Learning a new language can be a challenge, but there is something so captivating about it. A way for humanity to share a greater appreciation and admiration for each other. A way to connect the person to your left to the person to your right. A way to listen and be heard. 

With that, I will say au revoir!

 

Lauren is a Junior studying Government and Economics at the University of Texas. An avid coffee drinker and sushi fanatic, Lauren enjoys exploring the city, attending concerts, and discovering new music. Aside from writing, in her free time she can be seen reading, having weekly movie nights, and spending time with friends and family.
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