I am once again attempting to learn to read French.  I need to be able to do this for my graduate studies.  One problem I’ve run into is that I cannot write in French, I cannot understand French when it is spoken to me, and I most definitely cannot speak French.  The only thing I know how to do (and not very well, by the way) is to read a passage in French and translate it into marginally understandable English.  But for the purposes of my graduate studies that’s all I need to know how to do.

When I first took French for reading as a graduate class during my MA I was thrown into a class having had zero training in the French language.  And that was okay.  All they were there to do was teach me to read French.  And that worked out pretty well.

Prior to this course my only exposure to a foreign language was 5 1/2 years of Spanish.  However, in my Spanish courses we were taught to read, write, listen, and speak in Spanish.  I can still retain many of these skills to some degree.

But when translating French in front of a professor who knows how to speak the language (as I was doing this afternoon), if I come across a word or phrase that I don’t know how to translate, and I need to express to them that I’ve run into difficulty with a particular word or phrase, I end up sounding like Joey from Friends: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqwzvtjeYBQ

When I see a French word on the page I’m pronouncing it phonetically in my head as if it was in English or Spanish.  This is not helpful when I then have to say that word out loud.  I either end up butchering the word and sounding like an idiot, or spelling the word out and sounding like an idiot.

I’ve decided this is not my fault.  It’s the French.  It’s their fault.  Why did they bother putting all those letters in there if you are only supposed to pronounce half of them?

In closing, jume poop le mep peu.

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