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  • Writer's pictureMallory Warner

Parlez-vous français? My return to French class after 15 years

If you hear me speak French these days, you would be surprised to know I was a French major in college. I can easily understand what people are saying and read most intermediate level text, but to speak is another question entirely. In January, I began working at a local French elementary school in the Seattle area. While French is not required for my job, it is strongly encouraged and very helpful when talking to my colleagues. My colleagues will ask questions or talk to me en français, and are often met with a blank stare as I try to string a sentence together in my head. I was happy to jump right in and start speaking French, only to soon realize that I am a bit rusty and much of the French I do know is out of context for an elementary school.

In April, I enrolled in French 4 at Seattle Central Community College. Their classes are 10-weeks long and are very affordable. My class is entirely online, with the course sessions recorded so I can go back and re-watch the lesson for more practice. Our lessons are entirely in French at this level, and the instructor provides real life examples of how we would use French in conversation to gain fluency. She is also very kind with correction when we make mistakes.

After four weeks, and the ability to practice every day at my work, I can tell I'm making headway. I have been trying to practice the subjonctif and incorporate new vocabulary into my speech. Most time, I'm walking around the house talking to myself or the dogs in French. I am very lucky to have the opportunity to practice my French regularly, and I am looking forward to my next visit to France to really stretch my language legs. Souhaite moi bonne chance.

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