Matt Brubeck (mbrubeck) wrote,
Matt Brubeck

Learning French

I haven't really posted in a while, so I'm going to try to write some catch-up posts about stuff that happened over the past year. First up: if you have talked to me at all recently, I've probably mentioned my new-found obsession with the French language.

It started when Sarah and I planned a trip to Paris last spring to celebrate our tenth anniversary, leaving the kid with grandparents for the week. The trip itself was great; along with the museums and dining and shopping, we also managed to stop by Mozilla's Paris office, and spend an evening with my old teammate Vivien and his lovely girlfriend Clarista.

I had started studying French a few months earlier in preparation, using Assimil and other resources. By the time of the trip I could read comfortably and could speak well enough to communicate, though my aural comprehension was weak. But I had so much fun learning that I've kept at it ever since: reading books and newspapers to build my vocabulary, using Anki to retain it, listening to Coffee Break French and Le journal en français facile to improve my listening skills, and occasionally chatting on Verbling to practice conversation. I'm pretty happy with my progress over the last year; I have a long way to go still but I'm getting closer to reading at an adult level and I am almost comfortable having simple conversations. :)

I've also been hanging out in the MozFR IRC channel and sometimes helping out with French-to-English translations. Recently Clarista honored both Sarah and me with posts on the Bonjour Mozilla blog that she runs.

Like the baritone ukulele that I picked up the previous year [oops, it looks like I never wrote about that either... I've been delinquent longer than I thought!], I like French because it's challenging and rewarding, and also completely unrelated to any of the stuff I usually do. Unlike the ukulele which I mostly just like to strum for my own amusement, I actually want to get good enough at French to put it to real use, so I'm spending quite a bit more time on it.

Tags: french, mozilla, paris, travel
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