mardi 13 avril 2004

Je ne comprends pas

I've had a love of the French language ever since I was little. It was mostly because of my dad and his side of the family, who all speak French to some degree. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to cultivate this love and learn the language fully, since my dad did not see a need to speak French any longer. I guess being in a Western province renders it useless. I finally had the chance to take it in grade four and had the most wonderful teacher ever. I wrote letters to her for a few years up until I was in high school. After that, my elementary school lost the funding for French classes and they were no longer offered. In junior high, I faced the same situation. We did not have French at all and I think we were the only school in the city that did not teach it. I begged my parents to let me take private French lessons, which I thrived in and loved. I stopped because it was getting expensive and I no longer had the time to take both French school and regular school. After the lessons, I realized that I once put aside an application to go to a French immersion junior high school. I regret that to this day, because I could now be fluent if I hadn't have disregarded the application in haste. I was however, blessed to be able to go to a French immersion high school. Of course I couldn't take part in it, but I made a lot of friends in French immersion who enjoyed complaining to me about FLA (French Language Arts) all the time.

In high school, I was a pre-International Baccalaureate student. This meant that everyone in the program needed to learn a second language, either French or Spanish. That sounds great right? Well the catch was that you had to be at the intermediate IB level (requiring a minimum of six years in French instruction) to get into the French stream but you could be a complete beginner to get into the Spanish stream. Already deemed inadequate to get into French, that meant I was forced to go into Spanish, a language I've never desired to learn. To make the story short, I dropped out of IB altogether and was able to go into French at last. I took two years of it, but in the middle of my third year, I left halfway through. At the time, my skills in French were limited to written French. I could conjugate main verbs, understand some rules of grammar, and generally interpret what was in print. I just lacked the ability to comprehend spoken French. My third year, my teacher gave us marks on oral comprehension due to how well we understood French radio. If you've ever heard French radio, you'll know that they speak tremendously fast and that there is a lot of French slang used. That didn't exactly help me in the class because I had 95% on all of the written tests and 30% on the radio tests. I did better in physics than I did in French, so I finally dropped it to save my average. I'm glad I did but I hate that even to this day, I'm not fluent in French at all. Add to this the fact that I was supposed to go to Montréal twice this year and that both times the trips were cancelled. If I don't get into the film program, I will go to France next year for my missions work. Now that will be a trip that will not get cancelled, God-willing, if I stay at my college.

[Listening to: Si Bheag, Si Mhor - Slainte Mhath - Prophecy (04:14)]

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