Sophomore Slump

Day two of NaBloPoMo is much harder than Day one. On the first day, I was excited, a little nervous, but optimistic and eager to get to the keyboard.

Today, day two, it’s already well into the evening and I am just now sitting down to write something. Inertia is real, people, and it’s not pretty.

So – on to today’s topic. French. The French language, the Lingua Franca. I’ve been learning it over the last couple months. Mainly I’ve been using Duolingo, which is a cool little language app that I carry around on my phone. I am currently on a 54-day streak, meaning I’ve done at least a little French (maybe 10 to 15 minutes’ worth) every day, no skipping, for almost two months.

Très bien, eh?

I’ve also been using some elementary Pimsleur CDs in the car, but I don’t drive much, lucky as I am to work mostly from home lately. Still, it’s nice to get a few minutes practice here and there. People who see me driving and talking to nobody probably think I’m crazy, but c’est la vie.

I also researched a good novice-learner level textbook on Amazon and have tried to do a written exercise or two most days. It’s mostly grammar, with some reading comprehension.

All said, I’ve learned a few things:

  • I think I’m pretty good at learning new languages. My prior experience with both Hebrew and Russian implied the same.
  • Some French pronunciation is really difficult. The nasal “n” sound, like in “un” and “blanc”, seems to be sound a little better lately, but the “r” sounds are still giving me problems. There’s a guttural “r”, a kind of sound that is almost a “w”, and then the sound in the middle of the word “voudrier”, a d followed by an r, which I am just not getting yet.
  • The diacritical marks make written French a bit more difficult. I’m still learning how to distinguish the sounds of the diacritical marks from their “normal” cousins, but have not really nailed it yet.
  • I sometimes have an irresistible urge to talk like this guy:pepelepew

NaBloPoMo

I have not blogged in a REALLY long time. There are a bunch of reasons, which I may explore later in the month, but first, an announcement: I am on board with NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) – see http://nablopomoguideunofficial.blogspot.com/ for details.

I will try to write every day for the month of November (this post counts for November 1st, by the way).

I did this challenge along with a friend several years back (Thanks Laura Howe!), and I feel like the presence of a tangible goal will help me with my writing discipline.

Wish me luck!