Esperanto has been helping me with French more than I had predicted.
Hello again, everyone.
Some of you might remember me from when I was more active here a year or two ago. I'm a Latin and ESL teacher. The first language I studied was Italian, then Latin, then Dutch and German, then Portuguese, Spanish, a little more Portuguese, and lots of Spanish with some Esperanto here and there.
I've tried and failed at French more than a dozen times. The pronunciation and spelling kept me from making it more than a few phrases in each time. This time (starting in August) I was able to make it click. My Latin and other Romance languages helped a lot, but Esperanto filled in the last few pieces. It might seem minor, but those last few blocks were holding me back.
I'll give one example that has surprised my language nerd friends--ĉu. I kept struggling with "est-ce que" in French. It seemed like such a complicated way to make something a question. But after listening to Pimsleur French, I suddenly realized it works like ĉu. That mental association was all I needed.
When people discount Esperanto's ability to help you learn other languages, they forget the human element in it. No language should be hard to learn, but we often make them that way. Esperanto helps us to not do that :)
We have a game, my wife and I, with Esperanto: whenever we do not know how to say something, one of us take a dictionary, and the other tries the following:
- Get the French equivalent, then esperantize it -> Works almost every time
- Get the German equivalent, then esperantize it -> Works in almost all other cases
- Retry with synonyms
We usually consider that one "win" if one guess the correct Esperanto word in two or three attempts. Of course, there are exceptions :-)
Example ? Last week, we had:
- How does one say: "Barely" in esperanto? (en) Barely -> (fr) À peine -> (eo) Apenaŭ. Done.
- How does one say: Alms ? (en) Alms -> (fr) Aumônes -> (???) <sub>Aŭmono</sub> -> FAIL! -> (ge) Almosen -> (eo) Almozo. Done.
We can be fun sometimes :-P
No language should be hard to learn, but we often make them that way
I kept struggling with "est-ce que" in French. It seemed like such a complicated way to make something a question
Ohhh yes ! I already read discussions about this "est-ce que ? " and some people want to complicate this, way too much ! To us, it's just a group of words to make a question ; like comment ? pourquoi ? quand ? est-ce que ? We really don't think of the way "est-ce que" is constructed and what it means exactly ... and so should the learners of french ! ;)
Just put it at the beginning of the question and the rest doesn't even need words inversion . It's really easy actually ;)
My problem was trying to relate est-ce que to it's Latin routes, which complicates the matter too much :)
I've been a Latin teacher for my whole career (fourteen years), but ESL came in slowly in the last three or so. I started giving private lessons, so I'm not sure when I became an ESL teacher. Maybe when I taught my first group ;)
I'm thinking we must have talked about this but I just forgot. I was teaching at the local library for a while (volunteer) and then had some private students locally. I also teach on line, but the market is flooded with "online English teachers" so most of my requests are actually for Esperanto.
The value of Esperanto can't be stated too highly. I studied Gaelic about twenty five years ago, shortly after learning Esperanto. I have also been struggling with French. So easy to read and write. So difficult to speak and hear. After studying Gaelic I tell you "Don't think of French as a Latinate language. Think of it as a Celtic language." The French language was born when a Roman legionary married a Gaulish maiden somewhere back in the mists of history. So the Celtic wife says to her Latin husband "Ta fiabhras ag an leanbh seo", and he responds "Hic puer febricitantem est." And after an hour of fighting they arrive at "Cet enfant a de la fievre". This sentence is "Ciu tiu infano havas febron" in Esperanto, and ""This child has a fever" in English.