Je ne parle pas français

This summer we started out our Adventures in Foreign Languages in a familiar place—Vienna—where both CM and I felt proud of how much we remembered and how easily we were able to drop back into German. Then we moved on to Italy, where we spoke serviceable Italian to waiters and post office employees. We might have gotten a little cocky. Our next stop was France, and the first French person who spoke to us got nothing but blank looks from us. It became abundantly clear: we do not speak French.

So obviously my first European gig is in Geneva, Switzerland. And it starts 6 months from now.

I'm working on it. Rosetta Stone, flash cardsthis workbook and this one. I'm planning to take a class at the Alliance Française this winter, and maybe do some private tutoring as well. I'm scared.

To put it into perspective, I'm relying on stories of those much braver than I. Like Mama Bossy, who studied as a foreign exchange student in Finnland after high school, just because she wanted a challenge (her 4 years of concurrent French and Spanish classes weren't enough for her, apparently). Or CameraMan, who moved to Vienna and worked for a year in what previously had been his weakest language. Or Legs McGee, who has just moved to Moscow for a year on a Fulbright grant and is starting work at the Bolshoi (read all about her adventures here!).

After all, French is "easy."

From here

Any hot tips on learning French? I'll take them!


  1. ooh... I'm screwed... I want to learn my native language, Korean. I will agree that Spanish is pretty easy on the scale comparatively... but French always baffled me. At least speaking-wise. On paper it makes a bit more sense to me.

    Good luck!!

  2. I suggest finding the French Quarter in NYC - there must be one somewhere - and start using the language, n’est-ce pas?

  3. Am I crazy or is German not listed on this chart? WTF?

    1. Right? Not even worth a mention, apparently.

  4. German is off the chart ... über-easy.


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