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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Parlez-vous Francais?

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One of my cousins was attempting to learn French on his own in his spare time after work.  I believe he was using Pimsleur and was having a pretty good time with it.  However, I have since been looking around the internet for myself for some tips and tricks on learning a language.  I found the best way to learn French is to immerse yourself.  (Here’s a page dedicated to tips for learning French) I think my cousin would have gotten better, and more lasting results if he had enlisted the help of a French tutor.  However, this would be much more expensive.  And it was impossible to fully immerse himself by moving to, say, France.  He’s got a full time job and commitments here.

The funny thing was, he wasn’t learning French in preparation for a trip to France – he just wanted to do something constructive with his time.  He felt like he hadn’t done enough constructive things in his life at the young age of 27.  I would beg to differ, but who was I to intervene in his quest for a higher skill set.

I once tried (not very hard, I’ll admit) to learn Japanese.  I thought it would be cool to learn the crazy writing system and be able to read it.  I lasted all about an evening.  However I still remember some phrases from that, oddly enough.  When I went to Japan this past winter I had a very hard time making vocabulary words stick for some reason – I think I was too distracted by all the sights and sounds around me.  I got as far as saying “Arigato” most of the time.  Or perhaps “Konnichi-wa”.  The Japanese on a whole don’t always know English.  They often have English menus in restaurants, but many times you’ll have to point at what you want because they have no idea.  Also, the English menus often have less things on it than the regular menus.

Have you ever tried to learn a language for travel?  It’s hard.  But I do remember being in Mexico and being able to speak Spanish.  That was extremely rewarding!  I was able to read signs, menus, and converse with people.

There are some very good language learning tools out there for those of you looking to learn a language for travel.  I recommend checking out either Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone, or Rocket Languages.


Filed under Languages
Nov 17, 2012