Languages are so much fun to learn! You get to find out where words come from and how they are related. You figure out ways to remember hundreds of new words. And in the end, you are able to talk to people from other countries. That’s a pretty good pay off.
This weekend I reached my 300th day straight of doing half an hour a day of French lessons on the teaching site, Duolingo. Auntie Bridgett and I make time for it every morning, right after breakfast. We work separately, sitting side by side on the couch for company and help. Let’s face it, with hundreds (maybe even a thousand by now) of new words, sometimes I just blank out.
“This is silly,” I’ll say. “What’s cupboard?”
“Placard,” she’ll answer. “It’s masculine.” It’s important to know that. Every noun (a person, place, or thing) in French has a gender, masculine or feminine, and that tells you how to spell the words that describe it. The gender isn’t always what you think it is.
“Robe”, which means dress, is feminine, so that makes sense, but so are the words for “car”, “orange”, and “house.”
Auntie Bridgett uses her sketchbooks to draw pictures to help her remember how words go together.
Words that are masculine are “coat”, “bicycle”, and “garden.” Sometimes to help me remember the gender of a noun, I will think of a cartoon showing the thing with long eyelashes if it is feminine, or a mustache if it is masculine. Be careful, though! Mustache….. yep….. is feminine.
So now I head off toward the next 300 days. With any luck, by the time I get to that milestone, we will be able to travel to France again, and put all this learning to use.
I know it is silly to be homesick for someone else’s home, but I sure miss Paris.
But at least when we go back, I’ll be able to have a conversation!