I wonder if it’s time for me to learn French. I know words here and there, and apparently I’m able to fool franco-Quebecers when I’m in La Belle Province and say “bonjour” they all start speaking to me a million miles an hours in their mother-tongue, and I’m stuck there with a dumb look on my face. Either they like that look on me, or they assume I’m a French speaker by my pronunciation of “bonjour.”
I’m putting this call out to anyone who might be able to suggest a means to learn French, whether it’s computer software, or they took lessons somewhere, or other. I’m going to ask a French teacher or two at the school I work at, because I’m surrounded by native French speakers.
Why French? Well, for those who don’t know, I live in Canada, which is an officially bilingual country. However, I live in Ontario, which is officially unilingual even with its large French population (the largest outside of Quebec, if I’m not mistaken). Sure Mandarin and Cantonese are probably spoken more in Toronto than French, and Yiddish would definitely help more with my grandparents, but if I’m going to become King of Canada (that’s my career goal, btw) then I need to ensure there’s no uprising in French communities due to a monarch who doesn’t speak their language.
What worries me is my learning disability. From what I’ve gathered from my mother (a former Special Education teacher) and my own observances of Adult-Adam (we’ll just call him “Adam”) is that my learning disability manifested itself through my reading. When faced with a word, I’m not able to effectively string together the series of sounds, rather I see the letters, the sounds they make, balance that with my rather large vocabulary and take an educated guess based on the context. Fortunately I do have a large vocabulary, and understand the ground rules of grammar. Sure I’m pretty lazy, and generally don’t edit my entries, and so there’s usually some grammar errors or typos, but if I were more fastidious then I could eliminate them. In addition, I tend to write in a rather personal manner, rather than formally; this part is probably a lack of post-Secondary education.
I can see these things manifesting as I watch myself reading and writing. There are words which are foreign to me, and I’ll spend years mispronouncing because I don’t know any better, or words which I know the proper spelling of and the proper pronunciation, but whenever I see it on paper (or screen), I spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to figure out what it is. The best example is misogynist. That just took someone who types 120 words per minute about 15 seconds to type… but I got it right! I look at that word and I have no idea what it is, I know the word, I know the spelling, I know the definition, but the pronunciation, which then would lead my brain to the other attributes of the word is difficult for me to come to. So to any journalists I know, please stop using that word.
So this leads me to French, my vocabulary is tiny, and my understanding of the grammar is smaller. I think this was my failing in grade school, and to have added Hebrew on top of that, was more difficult. How can I learn a language if my coping mechanisms are reliant on a working knowledge of the language?