Errata: had really fast internet. It stopped working yesterday. I find that experience to be irrationally disconcerting. I spent a couple of hours totally unnerved because I couldn’t check my email (which I wouldn’t have had at that time of day anyway). However, I acknowledge that the internet is my primary connection to the outside world, so some access is important. Blogging makes more sense now.
I have a favorite French word: Blesser. For those of the world who don’t speak French, it means to hurt. My normal technique of guessing the meanings of words based on cognates and context didn’t serve me so well here. I was actually curious enough to do research. I think that it’s a cousin of the English term. The English term was created by the bible translators who borrowed a Germanic word which meant roughly, ‘anoint by bleeding upon’. My French wasn’t yet good enough to do etymological research, so I just went with, “I can see how you get from anoint by bleeding upon to hurt.”
So, have you heard me speak French? Probably not, because I haven’t spoken French with any of my friends that actually speaks any French or read my blog. Possibly you’re curious if I’m learning anything. Well, let me tell you. I started by exclusively working on pronunciation. It helped. I’ve had one new accomplishment here that I hadn’t yet managed in any other language; in a social situation alone with an internationally aware native French speaker, I passed as a local for several minutes until I gave up and asked for help on a word. I admit that it wasn’t a normal conversation, but I’m still pretty proud of the accomplishment.
Right now my weakness is formulating sentences. As long as I can get a running start on a sentence, I tend to do fine, but if I have to come up with them quickly, it doesn’t always work out so well. I’ll include some homework from last week to show my level there.
Quand elle a arrêt de courir, Alice n’avait aucune idée ou elle était. Elle était déjà dans la forêt. Apres avoir entendu un bruit, elle a regarde dans un arbre et a vue un chat tigré. Le chaut la regardait et avait l'air amusé.
"Bonjour. Pouvez-vous m'aider? Je suis perdue."
"Bien sûr. Ou veux-tu aller?"
"C'est facile. C’est par là." a déclaré le chat tout en pointant dans trois directions en même temps.
All told, I’m not sure that my French will progress fast enough for what I need. Ideally, I will be at level C1 (able to converse fluently on most any subject) by the end of the year. When I take the fluency test on <date to be determined>, it will be my first such test. If it’s just reading comprehension, I could probably get close today. However, if it’s a spelling test, I’m not going to make it. Good, I like a little excitement.
Ok the internet came back on its own. Plus, I made the discovery that word has some really great reference tools built in if you get the Multilanguage pack. It’s got on screen tips with translations and IPA pronunciations. However, I’m not sure how much use I’ll have of the Arabic dictionary.