Thursday, July 23, 2015

Language learning update

Some weeks back I blogged about trying to learn the French language. Believe it or not, I'm still plugging away at it. I've been using the Duolingo App on my tablet. While it's not perfect, it's pretty darn good and also it's free. Can't beat that.

Recent research has shown the benefit of listening to native speakers in whatever language you are trying to learn. Even if you don't understand a word that they say, it's supposed to help a lot. The theory is that your brain gets accustomed to the way the language is supposed to sound.
With that in mind I've also downloaded the Tunein app which allows someone to listen to radio stations from all over the world. Sherbrooke Quebec is fairly close to me as the crow flies so I've been listening to their radio station.

Has it helped? I think it has. Most of the time I can get the general drift of what people are talking about. Once in a while I've got no freaking clue. If that happens on a day when the Duolingo lessons are going badly it's pretty discouraging. However, I've decided to cut myself some slack and keep trying.

Some days it's all can do to finish one or two language modules. Other days I can knock off ten of them. Apparently, I've acquired more French by living next to French speakers than I realized. While I did take two years of High School French, I was the class idiot. Mainly what I learned was how to pass French class without truly understanding it. Even so, some it stuck with me. Unfortunately, the things I learned wrong also stuck with me. Unlearning them is five times harder than learning new things.

Learning has been pretty fun, overall. Good thing as I haven't watched a Netflix movie in a long time. That seems to be where the time to learn has been taken from.

In other news, my passport came in. All those weeks getting paperwork together paid off. Unfortunately, my wife's application was rejected. They want additional information. She was born and raised in a different state so getting the proper paperwork has been a nightmare. Hopefully we can square that away in a few weeks.



  1. My wife's submission for her passport also had "issues", due to being a copy of the hospital document (not the original birth certificate). Took about four months to get a certified copy from the state of Texas, then submit that document for the passport, if I remember correctly.

    Definitely worth it if you live along a border. Before the Mexican drug cartel violence really ramped up, we used to cross the border often. Now - not so much, it takes a REALLY good reason to go there now. I don't imagine you have that same problem up in Canada though.

    1. My wife's birth certificate has similiar issues.

      Canada is safer than the US. I'm not a city person, but really like Montreal.

  2. I'm learning some Indonesian via the internet. It's free which is a bonus. I don't need to know much. Just enough to be polite. I find one is treated better. I found that my French, learned abroad, was much different than Canadian. It took me awhile to understand it.

    1. People usually are happy that someone makes an effort to learn their language. Buddy of mine ended up married that way. He was stationed in Germany. Rather than hang around the barracks all day he "took a bunch of verbs and a bunch of nouns and smashed them together." His bad German still got him dates.

      Yeah, Canadian French is different. To make matters worse, the local French in northern NH is different than Canadian.

  3. I have way too much trouble with my native language so will never speak another one. My brain doesn't handle languages very well and Morse Code is a language and I really had to work hard to learn it back when you had to do 13 words per minute to get your amateur radio general class license and, if my memory is correct, 20 wpm for extra class. They dropped all the code requirements, which I disagree with, so just stayed at the advanced level.

    1. It seems a bit easier for me at my current age then back when I was in high school. Maybe I've just learned more about learning. That's not to say it's easy, but I'm more motivated.