2016 SO FAR: LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE

pexels-photo-27812It seems the years pass by faster the longer one lives. That’s certainly been the case for me. I’ve been quite busy even though I don’t have a job. Writing books is a lengthy process. I’ve also been doing something new this year: learning a language. I’ve wanted to learn French for a few years, and I finally took the plunge.

At first, I doubted that I could learn a new language without a teacher. I became interested in French after discovering Alizee, one of the most famous European singers. I found an album of hers for sale at Best Buy around 2011. Yeah, it seems even in boring small cities like mine you can find obscure (for the U.S.) music. Anyway, I was hesitant to learn French for the aforementioned reason. And it never occurred to me to sign up for French classes at the community college…there were none in high school. My class schedule was full, anyway.

Looking back, it was too early to sign up for a French class. After what I’ve learned so far, I think I’ve done better by myself. I first started learning French by signing up for a Duolingo account in September of last year. I made my first mistake then, though. Still doubting a language could be learned without a classroom, I went slow. By slow, I mean learning around ten words a week. It was a good call at first, but after I got better, I should have tried to learn more.

As I (slowly) progressed through the Duolingo tree, I found that the content was a bit more advanced than I wanted. My interest was in learning words for conversational use, not stuff I should know if I planned to move to France. So in February of this year, I downloaded an app called Memrise. On that one, I went faster. I studied a lesson a day (each lesson has no less than ten words, usually sixteen). Every Sunday, I would review stuff that I learned that week instead of starting a new lesson. When I signed up for Memrise, there was a course called A1 French. That one had around twelve hundred words in total. It’s been phased out, and divided into new courses with around four hundred words each. I started with French 4, because the earlier courses had words I learned in Duolingo and in A1 French.

This year, I also started listening to French music and radio stations. My favorite artist by far is Joyce Jonathan. This woman has the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard. I don’t know, I just find it so appealing I could listen to Joyce all day. And she also has des jolies yeux and adorable cheekbones. Anyway, over time, I discovered new musicians to listen to. Some of my other favorites are Louane, Nolwenn Leroy, and Yelle. Music is so effective at learning a new language that I can now speak a bit of French.

I’m surprised by how much French I know now. And I haven’t even signed up for a class or spoken the language to anyone. I plan to do the latter in the future, though. Since I’m probably the only trilingual for at least a half mile radius, I searched for other ways to hear spoken French. This led me to discover a few great YouTube channels. I’ve never watched any, not having a need or interest. The one I watch the most is Patricia B en Francais. Patricia’s excellent for a French learner because she’s an American who moved to France. She now speaks the language almost flawlessly. Most of Patricia’s videos are about fashion and makeup, though, but they’re still useful to learn French. It helps that she’s easy on the eyes and ears.

So, that’s it for today’s post. I’m writing another one like this for next week. In it, I’ll reveal a few new details on my newest project. Have a good day!

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HERE AT LAST: THE “BASE DUPLICITY” COVER ART

Wow. Time sure went quickly. Only about two weeks ago, I published the first sneak peek of my upcoming novella, Base Duplicity. Some three weeks before that, I launched this Web site and revealed the first bits of info about my novella. Now, my work is much closer to publication, so I think the time is fitting to reveal the cover art. I went through a few different variations of this design, and ultimately settled on this one. I thought it fit the story very well, with its theme of ying and yang, positive and negative sides. Below is the book cover art. What do you all think about it? Continue reading