Sunday, May 26, 2013

Explore Day 16

Day 16. Three weekends gone. It’s a little weird to think that I’ve actually spent more weekends here than I have left. On Tuesday, I’ll be officially half-way through.

I had a great weekend doing some fun things, and I'll blog about that tomorrow (well, hopefully...) Right now, though, I need to rant about French. 

On a positive note, I spent today virtually immersed in French, and it went relatively well. I go to a French-speaking church here, and, while I don’t understand as much of the sermon as I would like, I can read along with the Bible fairly well and sing the songs. After church, I talked to several people and actually had a couple lengthy conversations all in French. The people in the church are lovely, and so eager to help me learn French. One family even invited me over for lunch and then took me on a whirlwind tour of Old Quebec. My ‘tour guide’ didn’t speak much English, but whenever I was unsure of a French word she used, she was great at explaining the meaning.

In short, my spoken French skills are definitely improving, which is what I care about most. There’s still a lot that I don’t know how to say (and it’s so frustrating when I forget basic words like ‘older’ or ‘maybe’) but I can carry on a basic conversation. Whenever I get back to ‘normal life’ on PEI and meet French tourists, I’ll hopefully be able to make them feel welcome.

Negatively, though, I’ll be insanely busy this week, with a little test Tuesday, two oral exams on Thursday, and a grammar exam on Friday. Since my last post I’ve been working away, and the various tenses are starting to make sense, but still… there’s a lot left to learn. When I studied French during homeschooling, we really concentrated on oral skills rather than grammar; French class was watching The Lord of the Rings in French. So, I can talk to a francophone, but I have no idea how to conjugate etre in the infinitif.

I haven’t met anyone else with this problem. In most of my classes people have no difficulty in thinking of an IR verb which ends in U in the passé compose. However, when the prof describes pronominal verbs, they get all confused. I understand pronominals, but I don’t know how to use avoir or etre properly when forming the sentence.

It’s frustrating. I know I’m learning, but there’s so much I don’t know, and likely will never know. The Explore program will not make me bilingual.

At the end of the day, though, it’s okay. It’s okay that I don’t know how to correctly use the infinitive. It’s okay that the course is difficult. It’s okay that I probably won’t get an A on the course. Because I am learning. I’m speaking French, and understanding French, and even learning French grammar, no matter how slowly.  And, frankly, a 60% on a grammar test won’t matter if I’ve learned how to speak the language.

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