Saturday, April 28, 2012

French or Bust!

After a layoff of...let's see...oh my, 41 years, I've taken up French again, at the age of 57-going-on-58. Yes, language acquisition is generally considered a child's game (we learn our first language effortlessly at around age 2-3), but I have some things going for me that a child doesn't: maturity, and knowledge of how language works. And a few years of French back in middle- and high school. I've started with Rosetta Stone, but also have gotten my hands on a bunch of other, lesser known products, and I'll be sharing my experiences with them as I go along. I've been spending nearly two hours a day with Rosettta and am making great progress. See my review. À bientôt!


  1. I just found your blog and am so glad that I did because I'm starting to (re-)learn French too, after taking it many years ago in high school and college (to fill the foreign language requirement). A Possible trip to France next summer is my motivation. I've only been listening to Coffee Break French so far, after dismissing Rosetta Stone due to their (only) 3-month online membership and some bad reviews. After reading your positive review of the Rosetta has me reconsidering. You enabler! LOL! I'm a big fan of your books being an avid gardener (love those fresh tomatoes) and breadhead.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Nice to have you aboard. Note that Rosetta Stone, in addition to the 3-month subscription plan, still has a CD-purchase option, which is prefer. -- Just make sure to wait for a sale.

      Bonne chance! Stay in touch.

  2. ".....but I have some things going for me that a child doesn't: maturity, and knowledge of how language works". Hmmm....One could argue " both are clearly disadvantages and burdens, the freedom from which enable the effortlessnessa with which a 2-3 year old learns a language.

  3. Undoubtedly, and you've hit on a major controversy among linguists. The flip side of "knowledge of how a language works" is called "interference," and there is a significant minority of linguists who believe that this ingrainness of your native language, combined with other things that adults "do" (get embarrassed, discouraged, over-think) is a much a barrier to learning a foreign language as the more-often cited example of the changes in the human brain that take place in late adolescence.

    What's the source of that "effortlessness" that allows a toddler to pick up a language without textbooks and drills? I'll be exploring that in the forthcoming book.

  4. Hello,
    I just stumbled upon your blog. I am also trying to learn French. I took it for four years in high school and one semester in college. Now at age 55, I am incredibly rusty! I love the French language and culture, and I am attempting to "relearn" it, but it is proving difficult as I have no one to really practice with considering I live in a part of the USA where there is little to know French spoken. I did grow up in the USA near the province of Quebec, which sparked my interest in the language in the first place. A couple of years ago, I attempted to use Rosetta Stone, but I let my subscription expire. I liked it, but I found that there was little to no grammar, and I like learning a little bit about the mechanics of the language. This summer, I am using an online program called "Rocket French". I think I like it better than Rosetta Stone because there is a bit of grammar included which I like.

    I have been to France about five to six times. Two times as a student in high school, once as an exchange teacher for a month, and the other times as a teacher bringing students for an educational journey. I teach history, not French, but I manage to bring students to Europe every other summer or so, and I always try to include France in the itinerary so that I can enjoy the French atmosphere and so that I can "attempt" to practice my horrible French.

    I enjoyed reading your blog. Keep writing!


  5. Great write up. I am beginner of learning French language. I really enjoyed while i am reading this nice post. I have got some ideas from you . Thanks for sharing this nice post.


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