Overall experiences with French.
03.07.2013 - 20.07.2013
Since French is the only language on this trip that I've had significant prior experience with, I was able to add gently to my French, rather than trying to grab new words and phrases that might be useful all at once.
Most Used French Word that I Did Not Know Before This Trip: Noisettes (Hazelnut.) I picked that one up when we were stillin Bern and I noticed something (probably Nutella or a Nutella-like spread) labeled both “Haselnuss” and “Noisettes.” Since then, it has played a significant role in practically every time I look for desserts.
Most Useful Phrase that I Picked Up on this Trip: “Une Caraffe d'eau.” (A pitcher of water.) This was picked up from experience, not from writing. We began by looking up the word for tap word (eau de robinet) but then realized that whenever we asked for that,t the waitress would say “Une caraffe d'eau? D'accord.” Eventually we started asking for that, and counted ourselves successful when that did not bring us mineral water poured into a pitcher.
Grammar Rule I Did Not Know Before: You can add “ier” to any noun to refer to the person who does things related to that noun. You can add “erie” to any noun to make “the store that sells” that thing. (I'm pretty sure that's not a real rule, but I've seen enough examples of it that I'm inclined to think it is.
Biggest Regret Regret from French 4: So, my last unit of high school French was about world issues. The culmination of a lot of research into different issues was that we needed to give a four-minute talk about “Our vow for changing the world” and how it related to the specific issue we were studying. There were also a fair number of worksheets and conversations with classmates about this.
At some point in Paris, I passed a sign that was titled “Three Days for Changing the World.” It was a sheet of paper that was advertising a discussion about that topic. It had questions for debate/ideas to start thinking.”What strategy for changing the world?” Some ideas to get started: “Family, marriage, Marxist economy...”
So my biggest regret for French 4 was that I didn't think to have my “Vow for changing the world” be “Establish a Marxist economy.” I could have done a lot of different research about poverty levels and the divide between those with money and those without and made a very compelling case for why a Marxist economy would be an improvement. I might have ended with a lower grade in French, but it might have been worth it.
Overall, though, I liked being in French-speaking places. It's a beautiful language, and I was familiar enough with it that I could sometimes get through entire conversations without the person I was talking with going “Ah, maybe English would be better, no?”It was nice to be able to use it in a practical setting, and I was glad I studied it.
Even if I did never use class time to encourage Marxism.