Wednesday, February 29, 2012

French Update: "Prendre un verre"

Things have finally stared to settle into a normal schedule in my French class at the UAM.  Each week, I can understand more spoken French, though I still can't really respond quickly to much of anything.  I'll get there.  Obviamente, it's easier to write in a foreign language than to speak it when you're just beginning, because writing is slower.  You can think about your word choice, verb forms, etc.

Last week, our homework was to write an invitation to someone for an event.  This week, we got our invitations back.  Mine had "AB?" written on it.  AB doesn't mean that the grade is between those two letters.  Instead, it stands for a phrase in French that means "pretty good," but I can't remember what the phrase is.  The question mark was as if the professor was saying to me, "¿Cómo has podido escribir esta invitación bastante bien aunque no sepas hablar casi ninguna palabra del français?" (How did you manage to write this when you suck at French?!)  Excellent question.  Let's start with the explanation that when you have lots of free time, you can spend it doing a good job on things that interest learning French.

For our 7:30 - 9:00 pm class on Tuesdays, it has been unofficially established that we will meet from 7:45 - 8:30 pm.  Around 8:30, either the professor decides it's time to leave, or about half the students just pack up and go.  Also at 8:30 pm, I glance around the classroom as if to say, "Oh, we're leaving already?"

It may sound unusual, but I really am learning more in this class that I would be if I were just studying the language on my own.  Yesterday in French, I learned how to say "tomar una copa" in French: "prendre un verre."  Now I can go shopping, take a siesta, order chocolate cake, and get a glass of wine to go with it.  I'm glad we learn useful life phrases.  The scenario would be even better if someone could just help me conjugate verbs and pronounce them correctly...

Until I learn more words, cake and wine are going to be my life in French.  Whoever said you should never stop learning clearly didn't think that through.

Cake: Anne Frank Huis - Holland
Wine: Galil Mountain Winery - Israel

Also, I've become the English Consultant for the class.  Last week, two or three times, they tried to find English equivalents for things in French.  I'm sort of a novelty.  A novelty all the way from the other side of the world.

De verdad, lo que me gusta más de las clases de francés es la vuelta a Madrid al final de la clase en Cercanías.  Durante esos treinta minutos, siempre hablo con mis amigos de la clase.  Como dijo el tio Mike de FMP hace siete años, una razón para ir a las clases todos los días es pasar un rato con amigos.  It's really wonderful chatting on the ride back to Madrid with my new friends from all over the world.  Quizás ésta sea el valor de esta clase.

Sorry for all the non-Spanish speakers, but I'm always tempted to write about my French class in Spanish since I spend much of the time chatting in Spanish there.  

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