Learning a new language sounds intimidating at first, but when you finally get into it, you start feeling like you’ll be the go-to person of anyone who wants to know How To Be Cool. How do I know? Because apparently that’s what I’ve been feeling right now. Yup, I feel like a super cool person right now. (High five!)

My native language is Filipino (Tagalog), and second only is English. About three years ago, I’ve installed the mobile app of the language learning tool Duolingo, in the hopes that I’d finally be able to use my free time to learn something useful instead of wasting such time immersed in anxiety-triggering games. So I created an account (it’s free!), chose the French language course, and just started clicking and clicking the Continue button. The next time I knew, I had already passed two checkpoints. See, the system goes like this:

Screen captured on a desktop view

It’s like some sort of a tree, divided into checkpoints based on the level of difficulty. The topmost part includes the basic words, phrases, and other easy-to-learn set of words like food, animals, etc. As we go along further down the tree, it gets more complicated as grammar and sentence construction are introduced.

What I like most about Duolingo is that even if you somehow forgot about it (which is unlikely as it has a notification feature), or just lost interest at a moment of weakness and despair, or just simply uninstalled it for no apparent reason, you can still go back to it (assuming you haven’t deleted your account) and strengthen your skills again.

I am on a 4-day streak now, having just reinstalled it three days ago. Over the years I have uninstalled and reinstalled Duolingo and this time, I hope to finally have enough dedication and discipline to maintain my streak and finish my tree. Then maybe after that, I’ll try turning the speaking and listening feature on so I can learn how to speak French (with an accent!) and also, recognize it when I hear them. I have turned off those features because my goal for now is just to read and write French.

Aside from finding something productive to do with my large amount of free time, I’m not really sure why I even bother learning French in the first place. It’s not like I dream on someday visiting France and use my French to order a baguette plus a cup of coffee. But who knows? It may come in handy one of these days. For now, I content myself on seeing the jaws of my family and friends drop as I impress them with my French literacy. According to Duolingo, I am already 23% fluent, which I personally think is bragging rights enough. What more if I finally finish the course and start yammering in French rapidly, accents and all?  I guess they’d shudder to think.

Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive- it’s such an interesting world.

-L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Or maybe the reason why I’m bothering with this is because I’m kind of enjoying this challenge I set for myself. Sometimes, I just miss being out there, leaving my comfort zone and pushing myself to the limits. So however little this goal may seem, it still makes me love to wake up, and realize that “Oh, here’s another chance for me to grow and learn something new.” I love myself for never running out of things to look forward to. Maybe that’s why I haven’t got insane yet on being a stay-at-home mom, I am never lonely with myself.

How about you, what other languages do you already know aside from your native one, and how did you learn those? Are you interested in learning a new language too? If so, what language is it and why? I’d love to hear some language-learning stories too so feel free to talk about it with me!

Merci et bonne journée!

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16 thoughts on “Back To Learning French!

  1. I’ve tried using Duolingo for German. At my school, foreign language majors are required to take a year of an additional foreign language, so last year I took German. I’d love to continue, but I always forget to open the app. :p maybe someday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, that happens. Even if the app has both push and email notifications, it’s quite easy to dismiss them/turn them off totally, which I did so I tend to forget opening the app too! So are you a foreign language major? What’s it like? I am considering taking European languages next year.

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      1. I’m a Spanish major, and I love it. It’s taken me a long time to get to a fluent-ish level, and I still get intimidated and make oral mistakes, especially when talking with native speakers. But, I can communicate (however roughly) with an entire people group that was closed to me before. Plus, learning languages is so good for your brain. (I really think foreign languages should be much more emphasized here in the US.) If someone even mentions that they’re thinking of learning a foreign language around me, I will always give a huge yes, do it!! It enriches your life in ways you can’t imagine until you do it. And, learning one language makes it that much easier to learn another. I could go on and on (haha) but I’ll stop now. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No worries, hey! I was actually already on the momentum of reading when you just stopped right there. Maybe you could write about it on a separate blog post? Or do you have one already? I am really curious and interested about this!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. *super freaking out because of so much interest in my blog ahh!*

        Ahem. I have actually written about this quite a bit. For your reading pleasure:

        https://missionincomplete95.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/spanish-and-american-girl-or-how-my-spanish-obsession-began/

        https://missionincomplete95.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/manuel-antonio-costa-rica/

        https://missionincomplete95.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/am-i-bilingual-yet/

        I also just insert Spanish into whatever I write about, usually, because it’s a big part of my life. Hope you enjoy!

        *hyperventilates*

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I speak Spanish and English (I’m half-Irish, half-Spanish), a smattering of German from school and uni, and I’d really like to learn French or Italian…. I might download this and see how I get on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know you were half-Spanish, mi amor! Go for it, it’s really fun and engaging. If you ever continue on this, let me know so I can maybe follow you on Duolingo (only if you’re cool with that) have a nice day!

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  3. So far it’s good. I’m on a 5-day streak now! Honestly though, I don’t see how you couldn’t find time for this? 5-10 minutes a day is enough. Maybe you should give it a chance again, considering it’s one of your favorite subjects in school? 😁 it’s really a fun way to learn.

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  4. Thank you for the recommendation of Duolingo. I’ve got some rusty French, Spanish, German and Italian knowledge from my youth but never the ablity to practice or learn more so I’m definitely intrigued to try it out.

    Good luck with your continued studies

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So far I’ve been very addicted to it, what with all the small accomplishments I’ve been getting. It really keeps one going. I hope you find the experience as engaging and effective for you. Thanks and good luck!

      Like

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