Category Archives: french

Learning French makes you think…

… as does everything else, if you’re a kind of person who thinks.
But anyway, I’m trying to learn French and I have a couple of random thoughts about that:

1. I had long resented French, because of the artsy-fartsy snobbish aura around it.  It was only recently that I realized that disdain for doing what snobs do is itself a form of snobism. 

2. It’s a strange feeling to learn a language with lots of resources around. No more bending over backwards to find the three websites dedicated to a language I’m learning. No desperate fishing for opportunities to actually use it. On the other hand it is a bit overwhelming. What to choose from such a wide palette?

3. Read the entry above and think about it for a sec. Haven’t I just write it in English? English, as in “another language I had to learn with more than adequate resources”. What’s the big deal about French then? What’s the difference? The difference is – I don’t remember learning English anymore, only using it and expanding my vocabulary (at first by reading AD&D manuals). What I do remember (fondly) is learning dozens of languages afterwards and having to hunt for resources in almost every single case.

4. It’s never good to learn a language just for the sake of learning. You have to find some use for it as soon as you can.  I am already using my French – a Lezgi friend studying in Paris has just sent me her thesis written on her native dialect (thanks Ayten!). A truly win-win situation – reading it I’m learning about very interesting phenomena, improving my French comprehension at the same time . And on top of that the stuff Ayten writes about hasn’t been previously described in any language I know. That is the only path to that knowledge leads through French – so I’m not making my task more difficult for the sake of learning. 

5. As a consequence of the learning material availability expect more from me on Tamazight or Wolof (just to name two of the languages I’m interested in).

If you would like to suggest any interesting (you have to guess what could interest me) reading in French freely available on the Internet, you now have an excellent opportunity to do so.