Salut, mes amis! :)
If you've been following my blog for some time now, you would have figured out that I'm in love with all things French - the language, the country, the fashion... So, today I thought I'd talk about how and why I started learning French!
Paris, Je t'aime.
Also, if you're learning a new language, or if you want to, then keep reading for some awesome tips to help you get fluent - fast! :D
I think I've always liked languages, even as a kid. I loved talking (I still do!), and as a kid, I just wouldn't shut my mouth. I remember watching Dora The Explorer on Nick, and the parts that I remember best, other than Swiper no swiping, all involved her speaking Spanish. I loved those bits of the episodes!
When I got a little older, I started maintaining a book of all the Spanish words I knew, and I kept adding to my collection as and when I found more words. I think I had probably listed around fifty words in that little notebook, but unfortunately I don't have it anymore; I lost it. :(
A few years after that, I found myself in a Landmark book store in Kolkata one day, and as I was browsing through the dictionary section, for reasons I can't quite remember now, I found a book. It was called Hugo - French in 3 Months, and of course I bought it, because I thought it would finally fulfill my desire of learning a foreign language.
I tried to use the book, but since I had no clue about French pronunciation, it was a waste of time (though back then, I'd thought I was saying the words correctly).
Toute de la s'more, as Joey would say!
My sister took the book with her when she went away for college, and my French adventure ended before it could really even begin.
Three years later, I rediscovered the book, and I decided that if I didn't begin now, I would never be able to. So, I downloaded the Audio CDs that are supposed to come with the book, and finally, I started learning French.
That was about a year ago. I suppose I could have become fluent in French in just three months if I wanted to, but I have no problem in going slow and steady! By next summer, though, I'm quite sure I will have mastered the language, and finally achieved the dream that seven-year-old Swati had!
That's not the end of it, though. There are so many languages I still want to learn - Spanish, German, Korean; even native languages like Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, and even my own mothertongue, Kannada, with which I've lost touch over the years. :)
Well, now for some tips on learning a new language!
1) Practise by yourself:
If you're learning the language in school, then it might be difficult for you to be fluent in it if you depend solely on what the syllabus provides. Your teacher will obviously go at the pace of the slowest student in the class, and that might be a problem if you want to pick up the language quickly.
I recommend learning by yourself, actually. Armed with the right guidebooks and a few audio CDs, nothing can stop you!
2) Talk to Others:
The best way to learn a language is to communicate with others. If you have any friends who are fluent in the language, ask for their help, and strike up a conversation in only that language. It will be difficult, but it works great!
But if you have no such friends, then never fear! You can always watch Youtube videos of conversations and enact those conversations by yourself. There are also chat rooms online if you want to talk to a native speaker, but I don't suggest this method, simply because the internet is not always safe.
3) Learn it the Fun way!
you want to speed up the process, watch some movies in the language
you're trying to learn. Opt for a dubbed versions of your favourite movies, and watch them with subtitles. This will help immerse
you into a world where the language is being spoken by natives, but
since you're already familiar with the dialogues, you won't feel lost. This
is what I do. Whenever I want to rewatch Harry Potter or The Hunger
Games, or even The Amazing Spider-Man, I do so in French. This also
helps you to build your vocabulary and get your diction and
4) Give it Time:
You can't expect yourself to become a native speaker overnight. The older you get, the tougher it is to learn more languages. It may take you weeks, months or even years, but don't give up! Practise consistently and patiently, learning a few new words or phrases at a time. Don't try to overdose on information all at once - you won't be able to process it. Instead, go slow or fast depending on how comfortable you are.
At the end of the day, learning a new language is extremely difficult. You will probably think about giving up many times, as I have, because there is so much that is new to you - the words, the pronunciation, the grammar, possibly even the script!
Listen to Lady Grantham - she knows it!
But when you find yourself able to engage in a conversation with native speakers, your happiness will know no bounds! I managed to do this once - I met a French couple in McDonald's one day, and even though my French was shaky and I was nervous, I felt awesome! :D
Oui, je le suis! :D
Tell me in the comments below: which languages do you want to learn? Have you ever spoken to a foreigner, or an out-of-towner, in their native language (other than English)?
If you want me to write a post on any specific topic, then be sure to let me know. See you all next time! :)