Une langue ou plusieurs ? / One language or several?

J’ai passé une semaine à rien faire sauf étudier l’allemand. Ma vie est très “calme” en ce moment parce que je n’ai pas encore commencé à travailler. Je suis toujours en vacances… dans mon appartement à cause de ce merveilleux temps. Je peux faire n’importe quoi (sauf voyager – pas d’argent et pas d’amis) et j’ai choisi l’allemand. J’habite en France, mon copain est français, je veux devenir française un jour; pourtant je choisis d’améliorer mon allemand au lieu du français.

Qu’est-ce qui ne va pas chez moi ? J’en ai marre de la France ? J’en doute, mais pourquoi je n’étudie jamais le français ? Peut-être est-il plus facile à savoir quand je fais des progrès en allemand. Ce n’est pas évident avec le français. Je connais toutes les règles de grammaire, je comprends tout à la télé, j’arrive facilement à suivre les conversations, je peux survivre dans les pays francophones en faisant les tâches quotidiennes. Cependant il me manque du vocabulaire. Est-ce que je pense connaître assez de français et ne plus avoir envie d’aller plus loin ?

Quand je feuillete les livres allemands, je suis contente d’arriver à comprendre plus de mots que la semaine ou le mois précédents. Mais ce n’est pas pareil en français – je ne vois pas la différence et ça me décourage. J’ai toujours trouvé que passer du niveau débutant au intermédiaire était plus facile que du niveau intermédiaire au niveau avancé quand l’on apprend une langue. Qu’est-ce que je dois faire pour surmonter mon découragement ? Où est-ce que je peux trouver la motivation ?

Je voudrais faire mon doctorat en français et enseigner le français aux anglophones un jour. C’est possible que David et moi allions rester en France plus longtemps que prévu s’il réussit le CAPES. C’est aussi possible que l’on reste ici pour toujours et que je travaille dans le tourisme (pour pouvoir parler plusieurs langues). Mais quoi qu’il arrive, il me faut un bon niveau en français. Pourquoi est-ce que je ne suis pas satisfaite de maîtriser une langue pour la parler courrament ? Pourquoi est-ce que je préfère en étudier plusieurs ?

I spent a week doing nothing but studying German. My life is very calm right now because I haven’t yet started working. I am still on vacation… in my apartment because of this awesome weather. I can do anything (except travel – no money and no friends) and I chose German. I live in France, my boyfriend is French, I want to become French one day; however, I choose to improve my German instead of French.

What is wrong with me? Am I sick of France? I doubt it, but why don’t I study French? Maybe it’s easier to see when I make progress in German. It’s not obvious with French. I know all the rules of grammar, I understand everything on TV, I can easily follow conversations, I can survive in French-speaking countries doing daily tasks. Yet I need vocabulary. Do I think I know enough French and that I don’t need to go any further with it?

When I skim through German books, I’m happy to be able to understand more words than the week or month before. But it’s not the same in French – I don’t see the difference and it discourages me. I’ve always thought that moving from a beginner to intermediate level was easier than from an intermediate level to advanced when learning a language. What should I do to overcome my discouragement? Where can I find the motivation?

I would like to do my doctorate in French and teach French to English-speakers one day. It’s possible that David and I are going to stay in France longer than we thought if he succeeds at the CAPES. It’s also possible that we’re going to stay here forever and that I’ll work in tourism (so I can speak several languages). But whatever happens, I need a good level of French. Why am I not satisfied with mastering one language in order to speak it fluently? Why do I prefer to study several of them?

Retirement in France

I recently requested my code confidentiel from the Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Retraite so that I could check to see how many trimestres I have accumulated towards retirement in France. (Just type in your social security number and they’ll mail it to you.) For those born during or after 1952, you must accumulate 164 trimestres (41 […]

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Free English lessons for French students

BBC reports:The main teaching union in France has criticised the education minister’s plans to offer free English classes in the school holidays next year. Xavier Darcos announced the plans on Monday, insisting that speaking fluent English was the key to success. He said that while “well-off families pay for study sessions abroad, I’m offering them […]

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What la rentrée really means to me.

Tomorrow, September 2nd, students in France go back to school. Do you know what this means? I can finally go to the places I want without being surrounded by annoying kids!!! La rentrée is the most wonderful time of the year.

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101st Département of France: Mayotte

Mayotte, currently an overseas collectivity of France, should become an official overseas département of France, after a vote in April 2009. Geographically, Mayotte is part of the Comoro Islands (north of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean), but it voted to remain a French territory in the 1970′s instead of joining the Union of Comoros which […]

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“We the people” not “We the favored few.”

I don’t usually talk about politics, and I hate how much the US presidential election is covered here in France… but after watching some of the speeches at the Democratic Convention this week, I’m feeling a little more hopeful about my country. It took me six long years to get out of the US after […]

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Looking to Move

Because I have always been spoiled by my parents’ backyard…. …I cannot stand living in an apartment and not having a yard of my own. Currently we live in a one bedroom apartment with no balcony. We’re on the third floor, so we have to keep almost all the windows closed so Canaille won’t jump […]

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Joris Brichet, Champion de France de Skate

Last night David & I had dinner with a friend that we hadn’t seen in a few months. Joris had been traveling to Prague, Morocco and England for skateboarding competitions because he’s been the national champion of vert skating in France for four years. He took 2nd place recently at the European championships. If you […]

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Want to buy property in Annecy? I hope you’re rich!

The table below shows property prices per square meter for major cities/towns in France, and the increase or decrease in price from 2007. Annecy is the 12th most expensive, and it is the first one on the list that is not in the Paris region or in the south.  You can thank Switzerland and the […]

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Frustration & Creation; or Why I Spend Hours Working on my Website

It began with foreign languages. Actually it began with the movie While You Were Sleeping that I saw when I was 14 years old. Sandra Bullock’s character wanted to visit Italy so badly that it made me want to learn Italian. And then I started high school and began learning French. A year later and […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In January 2010, I started focusing more on teaching and learning languages in general. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at the university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling (though now my trips are usually in Australia) and being an American abroad.

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My Say it in French phrasebook and Great French Short Stories dual-language book (both published by Dover Publications) are available at Amazon.com.

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