Friday, July 15, 2016

Learning French, the 21st century way!

You've probably heard old joke: "What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual. Two languages? Bilingual. One language? American."

Sadly, this is true of me; although I've dabbled in three different languages, I don't think I could even get around another country in any language other than English. I took German for several years in elementary and middle school, but can barely read it and certainly can't speak it or understand spoken German. I've picked up a few Spanish phrases over the last three years working as a physical therapist, but I certainly can't do an entire treatment session in Spanish, let alone hold a conversation about the weather or do an evaluation in Spanish. When I spent a summer in Togo, West Africa and a week in Haiti I picked up a bit of French to combine with the few verbs and nouns I knew already from my years of classical ballet training. 

Now, I'm trying to learn a few French phrases in preparation for the trip I'm taking to Niger and Nigeria with my dad in less than two weeks! I'm hoping to at least be able to introduce myself and ask someone else their name, to ask where the restroom is, how much something costs, and understand days/time. 

Thanks to this book and audio CDs I picked up at Half Price Books last weekend (I love that store!), and Google Translate I hope to improve my skills just a little bit! Did you know there's a "conversation" feature in the Google Translate app? You select the two languages to be used, it will listen for either language, show the dictation in both languages, and speak the other language, and then re-open the mic to repeat the process!

I'm also going to be using the photo-translation feature to read signs around the bus stations and airports in Burkina Faso, Togo, and Niger. See, it even translates this blog post from English to French!

Gone are the days of repeating phrases along with a cassette tape... hello 21st century!

Do you have any recommendations on language learning programs or software to help me learn French? Leave me a comment below!

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