Bien sûr, Je ne parle pas Français, Je suis un Americain!

Bien sûr, Je ne parle pas Français, Je suis un Americain!

I can say this phrase in near-perfect French. Like Magritte’s painting of a pipe, it has more than one layer of irony.

This is not a pipe.

I took four years of French when I was a kid. Two years in grade school – 4th & 5th grades, and two years in high school. Because I had to have two years of a foreign language, and I was a lazy slacker, I took the same two years of French over again. This was pulled off because between grade school and high school my family moved from Illinois to Texas. The Texas schools had no idea I had already been through the course and gave me credit for doing it again.

I haven’t spoken a lick of French since. The ability to read it hasn’t vanished, but there are always mystery words. If I listen hard I can understand spoken French now and then. For example if there is a hockey game on Canadian radio en Français I can mostly follow along. But if my life depended upon saying something in French right now I’d be a goner. It would be au revoir Chuck!

Something has come up lately that has me studying French again (too early to share, as details are sketchy, but be patient!) so I’m looking for suggestions for online or offline lessons. I’ve been playing with livemocha a bit, and may just spring for their course… but I’m open to suggestions.

Or even direct help from any of you Francophones out there!

6 thoughts on “Bien sûr, Je ne parle pas Français, Je suis un Americain!”

  1. Contact Philipe Picavet, on the Jag Lover’s least you’d have an INSTANT topic that is shared!

  2. I speak and read French fluently but due to lack of practice the spoken part is fading. Writing/spelling it correctly is another story so I found Google Translate is not too bad. There are also plenty of free French language courses in the ITunes store. Hope that helps. Regards. R. S.

  3. Bonjour Chuck,
    je suis ici aussi ! Je ne connais pas de site online pour apprendre le français (livemocha semble intéressant)mais si tu as une bonne base, mon expérience de l’apprentissage des langues est efficace
    quand on est obligé de parler et lire (just like now :-)) , donc des cours du soir en groupe , lire des livres, regarder la télévision en français si c’est possible, cours de discussion online et voyager … Tu peux essayer d’ouvrir un topic sur Jag Lovers, Bernard Cristalli , d’autres et moi pouvons répondre en français, même Peter Crespin.Hope this was not too challenging to start with !Regarding the speaking, the best thing is to dare making mistakes and practice as much as possible. I still make mistakes in english and dutch but this does not stop me anymore.

  4. What I did in a similar situation is to make use of my public library and obtain a complete instruction course and download the CDs to my iPod. At least that way you can try the various courses out without forking over cash.

  5. Hey Chuck – I just saw something today that might be of help:
    “sites for learning a foreign language” (which sounds like you’ve tried)$20/month $12/month (free)

    Bonne chance!

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