Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lifescouts: French Language

So Monday I showed you the video explaining the concept of Lifescouts.  Mr. Geek and I are going to periodically show you which badges we've earned as a way of sharing more about ourselves with you; if you've earned the same badges, feel free to share your story in the comments!

image via Lifescouts
How Mrs. Geek Earned the French Language Badge

I took 5 years of French in school, and was really rather good at it- straight A's, and all that.  My ever-disappearing Southern accent always meant that my pronunciation was rubbish, but I could read and write with the best of them, and, if the speaker would condescend to go slowly enough, could carry on a decent conversation.  Harry Potter had turned me on to the idea of learning Latin, so I had considered switching to that in the 9th grade, but I believe our school only offered 3 years of Latin, and I was advised by various teachers that many years spent studying one language was more attractive on a college application- the ultimate goal of high school- than hopping from one language to the next.  I contented myself with researching the origins and definitions of all the Latin spells introduced in the Potter-verse and allowing that to help me better understand French.  By senior year, I could pick up a children's book in Spanish or Italian and understand most of it, and when we read The Little Prince in French class, I was proficient enough to actually engage in a literary discussion of the book- in English, though, not French, as my vocabulary wasn't quite expansive enough to delve into such philosophical issues.  I took the AP exam for French my senior year- an exhausting all-day academic marathon of reading comprehension, essay writing, listening comprehension, speaking, and conversing.  I scored a 3 out of 5- a "passing" score, worth the minimum amount of college transfer credits for a foreign language class.  Of course, I didn't need the AP score to earn those transfer credits, as Virginia Tech's College of Engineering required only 2 years of a foreign language in high school to satisfy that requirement, but it was nice to have those credits anyway, and taking the exam meant I would receive weighted credit towards my high school GPA.  (The agony was totally worth it for my little over-achieving self.)

I have not taken a French class since 2006, nor have I had any need to speak French since then, aside from the occasional ballet class.  When I get really bored, I'll check out the website for Le Monde, a French newspaper, and read through the article summaries just to see what I can understand, with varying levels of success.  Perhaps if I ever get a chance to visit France, I'll try brushing up on my conversational skills.

Have you earned the French Language Lifescouts Badge?  Did you take French in school?  Have you ever been to France?  Do you speak French fluently?  Have you ever had a funny or awkward experience in which understanding French may have been beneficial?

Much love,
The Geeks

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