I recently ordered a bread machine from 3suisses.fr because unlike most people, I do not like baguettes and prefer big loaves of bread with soft crusts. Plus the sandwich-style bread you can buy in France does not taste very good. Even though I had ordered it from a French company and the picture in the catalog clearly showed it was in French, all of the writing on my machine (as well as the instruction booklet and recipe book) was in Italian. This isn’t really a problem for me though, as I can figure out recipes with my limited Italian vocabulary.
Coincidentally, I also received a few German as a Second Language books today that I had ordered from amazon.de. Maybe this is a sign that I should really devote more time to studying languages. I’ve been slacking off lately on studying French too. And I can’t even remember the last time I majorly updated my language tutorials…
When I first moved to France, I thought naively that it would be very easy to study other languages because of the close proximity to Germany, Switzerland and Italy. However, I’ve discovered that’s not exactly true. Sure, we get a few channels in other languages (Deutsche Welle; which is in English half of the time & Rai; which cannot be broadcast in France at certain times for some reason…) and most good bookstores have a nice foreign language section – but it’s not much more extensive than what I found in the US. The internet is still the best way to learn languages, and the real authentic language that is not found in books.
Yet Europe does have an obvious advantage to learning languages: cheap & quick travel among the countries. I can be in Italy or German-speaking Switzerland in about 2 hours’ drive. I can fly to Berlin or Rome in an hour or so on a low-cost airline. I can order books from German stores and have them delivered to my home in France for a few extra euros. (I’m wondering why there’s no amazon.it though… where can I order Italian books from??)
A large part of the reason that I haven’t been studying languages is the lack of motivation. I’m not taking any classes, so I have no homework or tests to study for. I don’t have to use other languages every day. I want to learn though because I want to become fluent in more than just French. And travelling to these other countries makes me realize how much more I need to learn in order to survive there – or even just be a less-stressed tourist. One day, I may have EU nationality and then it will be (hopefully) easy to relocate to Germany or Italy. The only (major) obstacle will be the language barrier.
So I’m going to grab a slice of the pain français pane francese I made, and crack open my language books that have been collecting dust on the bookshelf. But now the hard part is deciding which language I want to study first!