My visit to France
Just home from France to attend a wedding and visit old friends there. Although I lived in France back in the 1980s with my French husband, now deceased, I didn't speak a word when I went there. It took 2 years for me just to hear the separation of words and start to figure out what was being said. Since then I had many opportunities to learn to speak French while living it, but never studied it until I found Duolingo a few months ago. I found out how many mistakes I had been making, and things weren't spelled the way I thought they were! It has been quite a learning curve for me, but I have loved it, and I'm not finished with the course. I've picked it up again since returning home, and have started Spanish as well. That is a long-time desire of mine, to learn Spanish too, so I'm finally getting started at age 76. Oh, while in France this time, I had many different people engage me in conversation, finally asking where I was from, then saying they found my accent charming. I still laugh at that, as that is what Americans say about French accents.
Bonjour Jocelyn, Glad to hear you are enjoying yourself. I am second generation French American. My pepe, Pierre Gamache emigrated from Quebec in 1860. None of my grandparents spoke English so I spoke French when I was a small child. I am 79 years young. Like you, I am learning to speak properly. There is a French meet-up group here in Bucks county PA, that meets once a month. All speak French but very few are ethnic like me!! Check for Meet-up groups in your area as there are many and French is a popular one. I meet very nice people and have a great time. I also can cook many French and Canadian foods. Sorry to here about your husband. do you have children and grandchildren? I have two children, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Oh My!! They are wonderful. I went to Temple U. for 10 years. Became an English teacher but there were no jobs so I took an MBA in accounting. Also, I was an ice skater for many years. Had to give up as I grew old.. Best wishes, Jane
As a second generation French-Canadian American myself, it is so wonderful to see someone else use the word pepe! I have never heard other Americans use it before and it made me smile.
Until I was told the same thing by a French native, I never thought of the American accent sounding charming to the French--I assumed we sounded sort of clunky. Glad to see you want to pursue another language also!
I was married for almost 30 years to a Parisian gentleman, so I was blessed to listen to his French accent every day. Since his passing 10 years ago my French speaking skills were getting very rusty. We spoke a mixture of French and English, whatever seemed to say it best. And one of his grandchildren (from his first marriage) called me Mémé. It was for his wedding that I went back to France last month after 9 years. It was in an extremely tiny village in Haute Marne. The only hairdresser in town, a young lovely blond, came up to me at the after-wedding party to say (in French, of course) that when she heard the American Mémére was coming to the wedding, she never imagined I would look so young (I'm 76). I guess in France the Mémére has to be really old to earn that title. lol I am so grateful to have learned about Duolingo and can really learn French now. And I'm just getting into the Spanish course. I do a minimum of 50 points in each language each day. Love it!
I'm in a similar situation. Have been living in Belgium for 10 years, and whilst i do speak basic french, i was never actually taught it so my speech is generally very informal, even street. Reading, and particularly writing, has been another issue I've been living with and never had the desire to overcome. Sure i can get the gist of a sentence, but all the small words, with all their small differences can be a little confusing to try working out blindly.
I started a Dutch tree here a few years ago because whilst not as important (The flemish normally speak english), i was simply more interested in the language, and my Dutch is on a lower level than French. I didn't get very far before stopping. It was helpful for some generalities and spelling, but i simply wasn't using it enough. By this time though, my dutch reading and writing was far ahead of French, even though it was the opposite when it came to speaking and understanding.
So a few weeks ago i decided to push myself up that hill and start a French tree on this site. It's surprisingly effective, and truthfully it's amazing how much it helps with the language as a whole. I think having a 'visualization' of a word helps to remember it, so I've never been picking up and adding new words to my vocabulary as fast. I'm getting so much better with anything involving reading, like menus or newspapers.
The repetition is also incredibly effective. I expect my speaking will be lagging behind once the course is finished, and it'll just be a case of adding words and expressions to my vocab.
A VERY happy duolingoer
It's never too late for anything ! Very inspiring ! Good luck with your Spanish as well.
Hi JocelynHow5, I'm happy you found the joy to learn here, just like I did, I live near the boarder in Kortrijk, a smal city in Belgium, so it is easy for me to go on a citytrip to Paris, Belgium is so small that I can take a bus and pay arround €30pp to Paris or London. :) Good luck with your Spanish too.
Joselyn, how lovely and inspirational it is that you shared your story. I, at 68, returned to my high school French for the love of the language and for the brain exercise. My learning is slow and retention discouraging but I keep going. Reading stories like yours keeps me motivated. Thank you!
Amazing to hear that people of all ages are learning languages.
I already finished the French course and I'm just reviewing it. I feel like learning Italian afterwards. And personally, I'm a sucker for hearing French people speak in English. My mind feels as if it's about to explode XD Not sure why. I just love hearing them in English.
Salut Jocelyn, what an inspiring story to read. Wishing you well on your journey. Take care.
@DevinKeele1 Did you leave your club? I was made the Admin on your own club?
I was trying to reach out to a guy with Duolingo username: "DevinKeele1". I thought mentioning his name would send him a message. He used to be the admin of my club on the Duolingo mobile app.
Then he left (or maybe he was removed), now I am the admin of the club.