“Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you”
After deciding to come & live in France for as long as we could get away with it, TC and I started learning French way back before we left Australia. We have also managed to set up weekly lessons about half the time we’ve been here, but learning a new language – and it’s the first time either of us have ever really tried to learn a second language – doesn’t come easily at our ages.
All the experts say you have to really immerse yourself in order to have any hope of becoming fluent. Our aim before we must eventually return to Australia is to be at least conversationally fluent. We go out and try to speak with local people as often as we can and we have tried, but given up all too easily, to have days when we only speaking French to each other. We have French TV available through our internet, but with English (UK) TV also available, it is again too easy to become distracted and give up on the French channels after a while.
In short, we are frustrated with our own lack of immersion. Yes it’s our own fault.
Well today I had an idea. It has been a grey, wet day, we’ve both been feeling under-the-weather a bit lately, it’s definitely been an indoors type of day. Normally we would occupy many of our days out cycling, but definitely not today. It is also Saturday which feels like it should be a more social kind of day anyway, and we’ve only been out once all week (except to our French lesson). So I thought of going to the cinema – yes, French cinema, without any subtitles or translational assistance of any kind – completely on our own; taking the plunge.
We did it, and it was great!
Reading the short synopsis of the movie beforehand helped as we knew basically what to expect. Another bonus was discovering that cinemas the world over clearly have the exact same look, feel, and candy bars! We went in feeling that we were easily within our comfort zone (why haven’t we done this earlier??) and a little excited. The movie was a comedy and was quite easy to follow. By the end we realised we were actually hearing and understanding more and more of the dialogue. Yes, there were some jokes we missed (everybody else breaking out in laughter while we sat with blank faces was one clue) along with a good proportion of the dialogue, but on the whole it was a great experience.
On the way home we were comparing which phrases and sentences we had each picked up and understood – and that turned out to be quite different ones for each of us. We had such a good time that we’ve decided this is now a must-do weekly outing. TC’s choice of film next week.