French Class @ the Half Way Mark

The first week of my French classes was a short week as we started on Tuesday (Monday being a holiday).  The professor is very sweet and nice, too nice at times :)  She does a marvelous job at explaining the lessons.  The entire four hours (minus a 20 minute break) is all in French, and so if something isn't understood she'll simplify (still in French), and mime the actions, etc!!  The class is made up now 12 students, as 2 students joined the second week.  There are 2 Turcs, 1 Greek, 1 American (who speaks Italien fluently, lives in Italy), 1 American, 1 English-American (ME :)), 1 Guatemalan, 1 Panamanian  1 Brazilian, 1 Argentinian, 1 Saudi Arabian, and 1 Australian-Jamaican.  2 in their 30s, 2 in their teens, 1 older, and the rest in their 20s (three of us 29).  It is quite the diverse group, and 12 is the perfect amount to allow time for dialogue in class as well as allowing for discrepancies in understanding.  It is rather humbling though as the majority of the other students speak at least two languages, and French is their third.  For the most part English is spoken, and at the break we speak in a mix of Spanish, English and French :)  

We're making our way rather quickly through the book.  It's a four week course, and Friday marked the end of the first half.  The book has 8 chapters/units and we're almost finished with Unit 4.  We take a midterm next week to track our progress (both for writing and speaking).  The class instruction is comprised of lecture, student participation, writing, homework, presentations, group/partner work, listening and responding.  It combines culture, grammar, vocabulary (although not in list form, just as we go about our lessons we add to our vocab knowledge - which is something I appreciate).  Many of the grammar rules have exceptions, which makes it slightly difficult in understanding the rule and applying the rule.

Numbers in French are essentially math problems...

17: dix-sept

10: dix + 7: sept 

(10+7=17)!!  Simple enough, then you have...

77: soixante-dix-sept

60: soixante + 10:dix + 7:sept

One more...

97: quatre-vingt-dix-sept

4: quatre x 20: vingt + 10: dix +7:sept

There have been other occasions that I've mildly grumbled to Guillaume in terms of the French language, however as each day progresses it does get a little easier (sort of)!!  Some things, such as the masculin/féminin articles corresponding to the words is just something that I have to memorize.  There really isn't a whole lot of rhyme or reason to it :) 

The best day was the Wednesday of the first week, it was the second day of class.  I left the class on a high and went to the market and ordered from various vendors the food and such I needed.  I successfully communicated with them my desires, and was understood and even when I did mispronounce a word or two they were pleasantly helpful in correcting me, waiting for me to repeat the correct pronunciation.  I came home to G still on my high, and communicated with him in French all about my day and his face just lit up.  He was thrilled to see me "speaking" French.  If nothing else, I'll be a pro at shopping for our food at the end of our stay.

Á bientôt!!  The post was getting long ;)

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