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!