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Or should I say, “Je réapprends le français avec Duolingo”?
I dunno. I’m not finished yet. Why French? Well, you may have guessed when I said I’m RElearning it. I studied French during three years of middle school, and then again for 3 years in high school. I figured it’d be a relatively easy language to learn. Moreover, I’m learning things I never learned before. So, perhaps Spanish is more practical, but I’m not a practical guy. I’m an intellectual (i.e., a nerd), so my concern is getting fluent in something. This seems like the shortest path to that goal.
When I was in my junior year of high school, and thus my sixth year of French, I was hanging out at high school waiting for my 7 pm martial arts class to start. Yes, I had to hang out for hours after school so that my parents wouldn’t have to drive me to and from school later in the day. I didn’t mind. I didn’t want to be around them anyway. So, I struck up a conversation with the janitor who was from El Salvador. I had an aunt from El Salvador, so that started the conversation. The conversation went to French. I told him my history, and he asked, “Comment ça va?”
I had no idea what he was saying.
I could tell you my car was grey or that I broke my leg skiing, but I couldn’t ask, “How are you doing?” When he told me that’s what he asked, I didn’t know to say, “Ça va bien” (I’m doing well). It was rather embarrassing that I could write a doctoral thesis in French but couldn’t engage in casual chit chat. Shouldn’t that be the point? Duolingo stresses conversational French, so maybe I’m on the right path this time.
That said, I’m not sure Duolingo is the best way to learn a language. There are no lessons, just tests. The only reason I can type, “The car is grey,” is because I remember it from childhood. If I were learning Swedish, I couldn’t get a single word from that sentence.
Maybe I should just take an in-person class.
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