I can’t believe that when I started on my learning journey to become fluent in French, two years ago have passed.
Since then, I have had my life enriched with new people I have met around the world who are French native speakers or francophiles who have helped and supported me along the way.
I have also met local people, restaurants and clubs where French is spoken and along with that, through the Alliance Francaise in Melbourne, a network of people and events that I have had an opportunity to go along to (in-between lockdowns) or meet online.
There are active French speaking communities – that cater for those willing to learn or even the native speakers wanting to connect with fellow country people.
Little did I know that when I picked up the phone and introduced myself to an Alliance teacher in French to get my oral assessment, that I would have progressed my level.
What did help was constant weekly chats with French speakers who improved my language skills in return for helping them with English.
Now, I have reached a turning point.
I have to choose whether I want to continue on with B1.3 which is the next text book and formal education and progress deeper into the Intermediate stage OR whether I should focus purely on conversation skills so I can speak fluently without having to stop my brain and my mouth for umming and ahhing while I find the next word.
What I’d like is the seamless conversation without basic sentence structure. You can see the differences in this video between going from Basic to Intermediate conversation.
Yesterday, I sat down and looked at all the courses and conversation classes I have at my disposal.
There are both online and face-to-face options and now I have to consider what I need to do. Part of me is thinking that I’d like to focus on just conversation for the next year to really BOOST my conversational skills so that when I do continue with B1.3 and formal education – maybe later on next year – I am more in a position to provide the teacher with full-formed arguments in my responses.
However there’s a part of me that wants to continue with the formal structure just to say that I have completed ‘X’ level. I know that this is wrong but from my observations, I’m seeing that some of my fellow students are struggling (like me) to converse at even a basic level and they’re in the Intermediate classes.
I still have some time to think about it but what’s floating around in my head is to focus on conversation only this year.
I may do that through the Alliance with a 10 week course of 2 hours; include a hour long chat with my friends Emma and Renee which is about 4 hours of speaking every week.
I’ll add any intermittent Coffee catch ups with a local group here who meet at a cafe and chat to each other in French.
Be under no illusion that if you want to learn a language, you need to commit to it so that you don’t forget what you learned. I want to get my level of French to a high intermediate level.
However, there’s also a part of me thinking about going back and doing Greek formally. I have only ever completed a few years of primary school Greek and my language skills have really been through just talking with family and friends. It would be interesting to see what level I’d be. I’m thinking that it’s a B1 level too. I might try out a semester and see how I go.
In future, I have been thinking of learning some basic German (however that will occur in-country as we are planning to spend more time there and the intention is to undertake an immersion German language cultural experience in retirement).
I’ve also been thinking about Spanish and how it might be an easy language for me to pick up after French. My father is a fluent Spanish speaker and I’ve grown up listening to flamenco so maybe, just maybe, this is my next language?
So many things to look forward to with language learning…