The freedom and chaos of learning a new language

Hello, and thanks for coming back to my blog! this week I’d like to start with why I chose French to begin with. Branden asked me this question, and I found I wanted to share it as I haven’t really focused on it yet. The first answer is I wanted to open more possibilities. Not just travel when we can, but also in travel now- when going to a local French restaurant, speaking to friends that are French, and more. I feel like the more languages I know the more options I have. And I love this sense of freedom!

Person standing on hand rails with arms wide open facing the mountains and clouds
Photo by Nina Uhlíková on Pexels

When I traveled to Switzerland a few years ago, I remember not knowing almost any French, and diving into the place. Ever since I got back I wanted to learn more French, and am glad this course has brought this goal back into my life. The first thing I learned is how to be curious and explore as I go, outside the books.

Thermos books and photo camera on camp tent
Photo by Uriel Mont on Pexels

One time when I was in Swiss, it was rainy, I was at a local store, and needed to get an umbrella. I had no idea how to say “umbrella” in French, so I said “the thing for the rain” (which for me was a lot to know! a full sentence!) and oddly enough- it IS how you say umbrella! “parapluie” = umbrella, and meaning literally – “For the rain”. Para- for, and Pluie- rain. So I learned it’s ok to be confused, try, and try again. This happened again this week, as I remembered I keep mixing up “travail”- meaning “to work” and travel in English, which is the opposite… only this time I have many more tools to keep learning. So this week was about mixing up a little less. I had a hard time adding new things as I kept mixing up what I already know.

The plan was amended, and I’m now continuing to practice conjugating “travail”, “Vouloir” (to want) and added just a few new verbs in school and travel themes, like “Lire” (to read), visite (visiting), and country (pays). I’m starting instead of adding only new verbs, to also focus on partially practicing what I already know and partially adding new words that will fit in a school setting. One more recourse that was helpful and recommended by Haley called Word Reference and works better than google translate, in case I need a quick reference.

Focusing on the foundations is more than a one time job

Focusing on the foundation is an ongoing job. I love to see progress, but learning new languages forces me to focus on, how my friend Michelle says “work smarter not harder”. This means, in this case, to keep feeding my foundation practice as I add new things, rather than my usual crossing items off and moving on. The way I see it, it’s adding more plants into my garden as I go, while watering them all, rather than moving on to the next step and forgetting the previous one.

I found there are many ways to explore and be curious. Like taking my learning outside, reading, and finding what works for me that day. The more options I have, the more freedom I feel. All the tools I’ve collected so far will help me adjust the learning process and make it work in the busy school- work- life cycle I’m (hardly) balancing!

White ceramic mug on white paper
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels

So on to my weekly practice. This is a glimpse into my Doulingo slides and chaos.

First, I reviewed the previous verbs, with the intention to make the basics stronger. Then I added this week’s new themes and learned the basics of school and travel themes. Here are some of the slides that I reviewed:

I then had my class, and as always, used the hear, speak, write (and this time in the context of the conversation- super helpful!) and read. Here are the first 3 slides from this class:

All the small differences with Aux, le, la… I can’t emphasize enough how much repetition helps. It’s so confusing, and the more I repeat, it doesn’t get boring- it gets more clear. More new words this week are, as mentioned before, pays (country) and visite (visiting! – yey an easy one!)

To Finish, I’d like to share with you a video I love to watch every now and then, showing the importance of language in our world, identity, learning, and more. Learning a new language is learning a new way to communicate, think, and expand in ways I did not know before.

Taken from Ted.com

What do you think are the benefits of learning a new language? Remembering this through the hard times of learning can sure help- I know I needed a reminder this week! what helped you learn a new topic/language? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Chat soon,

Maya

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