Last night I had my third (if you don't count my one and only Saturday basic of the basic class) French class. Not suprisingly, it was the hardest yet. We've moved beyond the alphabet, numbers 1 through 29, and greetings. Now, we're in full sentences... sort of.
In one (excruciating) part of the class, we had to explain why we were taking French class while speaking in French. Um, yeah, not so much. With a LOT of coaching and confusion, I finally said, "J'étudie le français parce que j'étudie l'historie française le 18ième siècle." (Don't ask me how to pronounce most of this - particularly the last two words; I only know how it's spelled because my professor wrote it on the board).
I realized, after the fact, I could have just said that I was studying the life of Marie-Anne Charlotte de Corday d'Armont, but as I'm being reminded in these past couple weeks - I kinda have a hard time learning/practicing a new language in front of people I don't know, and, hence, make things much more difficult on myself than they really need to be.
Do I regret taking this class? Not at all. I like being able to "converse" with others (especially when I know what I'm saying) and practicing with my professor, who corrects my pronounciation - which I wouldn't get at all with a CD. But, I need to keep reminding myself that this isn't an overnight thing. I can't expect a couple classes to really teach me French. After all, I took Spanish for a good six years, if not more, and I was nowhere near fluent. I also know that I need to "practice" more, with my friends who speak fluent French (or, at the very least, know far more than I do), as well as my sister who is also learning beginner's French, albeit through the less expensive route of a book and a CD.
The benefits of taking classes at the Alliance Française are also going beyond me earning the language. My professor previously had a student, far more advanced than I, who is well-versed in French history and who is willing to talk to me about the French Revolution & any questions I might have. I'm going to also probe his brain for any info he has about the French riots of 2005, which is what I'm still struggling with more than anything. There is so little out there other than factual articles about what happened during that time; I need more of what people were feeling - both of the boys and men who were involved in the riots as well as the Parisians who, I keep assuming, didn't feel any threat from the riots that were raging in the suburbs of France. But all that is another matter, another post for another day.
In the meantime, I'm forcing myself to keep away from the novel and work on other things, or at least, not the pages of the novel itself. This isn't an excuse for me not working on the novel, seriously. I need to back up from my novel's main plots so I can look at it with fresh eyes. Of late, ideas have been bubbling and my novel journal has been brought forth again. I don't know if I'll ever totally understand my writing process, but, so far, this French class really has had an inspirational effect on that process.