Learning the language of love

The global pandemic we’re experiencing has affected our daily lives. It’s changed school, work, our schedules, but it has been a great opportunity for some people to learn and expand on skills like music, or art, or language. With the time I’ve had, I decided to expand my learning of the beautiful language that is French.

This year I was taking French 1 because France and French culture have been an interest of mine since a young age. I was always scared to learn the language because of how hard it is to learn, so much like telling time and writing correctly, but I always kept it in the back of my mind. Everything about French culture fascinates me. Everything from the food, the places, and the sports teams, like Paris Saint-Germain and the men’s French National Soccer Team.

One way I’ve been able to continue learning is through an app/website called Duolingo. Duolingo is a free language learning app and website, which also provides exams for language proficiency. It is set up with modules to help learn skills like grammar, reading, and writing. 

Duolingo’s lessons are made up of several activities, ranging from translation, matching pairs with the foreign word, and typing out a phrase, among others. Practicing phrases has helped me a lot because of how easy and fun it is to type and say phrases out loud.

My goal in French is to eventually be able to read, write, and speak fluent French. To achieve my goals I’ve been following some tips like getting into music and art to help me feel comfortable when reviewing. A crucial tip I’ve been using is when doing my activities, I write everything down in a notebook to study and review in my spare time. Everything comes in handy because you might forget how to spell or even forget the word itself. Also, I set my phone to French at times to expand my learning. I use my phone every day and it’s helpful to learn words and phrases to practice there and then.

Knowing the progress you make is a tricky thing to keep track of when not having the proper tools to keep track of progress. When I started I would write phrases in French and in English. To have a better understanding of what I was learning, I’d set up a quiz on paper for the parts I had difficulties with. Another thing I would do was go on Quizlet and find similar lessons where it had the option to take a quiz. That way it felt like a quiz in a classroom. So far, I think I’ve improved immensely. I’ve easily doubled my comprehension and speaking in the last couple of months.

One short-term goal is to go back to school and have a full on conversation with my French teacher. By the start of the school year, I believe she’ll be impressed with my progress because I’ve improved significantly and I struggled in the beginning of this year. I know it’ll take a couple of years to actually be fluent because I don’t know many people to speak French with. I will know I’m fluent in French when being able to read, write, and speak in French as well as I do in English and Spanish.  

But after becoming fluent in French, I would love to expand to German. The German language interests me because it’s the most spoken language in Europe. I’d like to travel to Europe, to France and Germany, and be able to communicate with people instead of asking for help.