How I'm Learning French

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One day in 2009, I saw a friend taking french lessons on his computer. I though it was cool. I joined and every task was easy. French must be very easy and fun. And so I thought within me, "This will be fun and rewarding. I hear girls like guys that can speak french. And I might land a dream job with UN."

It's almost 5 years now. It hasn't been fun. I haven't come across any reward. When I went for a UN job interview, I was told to come back in 2 years. The only consolation so far is that girls do like guys that speak french. And that is before they find out that you stammer terribly after the first 3 sentences.


Of all the things I have learnt in my life, french is the hardest and most expensive. And I still haven't learnt it. I have attended Alliance Francaise Ikeja and VI. Centre Culturel Francais Abuja. Bon Berger College, Cotonou for immersion programme. Bought Harry Porter, the french version. Bought L'Avare. Memorized the words in Collins Pocket French to English dictionary. Bought secondary school french textbooks and workbooks (On y va). Paid a fellow French graduate corper half of my NYSC allowee to teach me French. I spent hours combing training attendance sheets at NYSC camp to find a French graduate. I found him. Copied his details. 3 months later I went in search of him and gave him an offer he could not refuse. Then I would travel thrice a week to his place of deployment for french classes.

I joined online language exchange communities. I made new friends. Especially Sarah, the best friend anyone can have. I have more French movies than English movies. I have more French music than English music. I listen to french radio a lot. I have lots of books on French grammar. I have lots of apps on my phone for learning French. I even had my phone language changed to French until it got me into trouble. 

In all, I ended up with interesting stories of how I'm learning French. But with almost nothing to show for it. It's a terrible state to be in. You can't quit because of all you've invested in it. And you aren't making any real progress. More than all the apps I have bought on iTunes are French apps. I read French books like I've got an exam in focus. I listen to French radio as if I can remember more than a word of what was said. I even bought an internet radio app on iTunes and Google Play. I bought audio books too. French is like a black hole to me: sucking all it can get from me. 

But I'm not deterred. I'll keep giving it all I can. I know that someday I'll win this battle. I will be come fluent in French. And to celebrate it, I will make a resolution to read only French books and watch only French movies for a year. And set aside about 2 months income/salary for it.


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