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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My First Lesson in French

On previous trips to Europe, I had either traveled with people that knew the local languages or we were in a country where I could get by – English, Spanish, or German with my knowledge of the languages. Something that is new for our upcoming trip to Paris, France – French is a language that neither Ashley nor myself have spent any time learning.

Last Friday night our good friend Stephanie Kates came over for dinner and to hang out. Stephanie spent two years on a mission trip in Aix en Provence. When we told her of our upcoming trip and some of the concerns of the language – Stephanie being the great teacher she is (teaching at an elementary school in Oxnard, CA) gave us our first lesson in the French language.

We did learn some interesting concepts that we had no idea of at least in terms of pronunciation – general rules that no doubt have many exceptions. In addition, she believes if we learn the phrase “Parle vouz anglais?” and remember to use it every time before we even think about using English, that we’ll be alright. That sounded easy enough to me.

However, that was not quite enough for me to feel completely comfortable with our language needs for the group. A little later in the evening, Stephanie mentioned how she had been listening to various podcasts while she ran. Most recently she had been listening to Coffee Break Spanish and was getting a real kick out of it.

Later that weekend, I did a quick search and came across the Coffee Break French website. After looking around the website, there were a total of 12 lessons that have been published as podcasts to take you through the French language in little 15 minutes increments.

I selected to download all 12 podcasts to load up on my 60GB iPod Photo and got ready to start learning via Coffee Break French, produced by Radio Lingua – perhaps the most famous for their Coffee Break Spanish lessons.

So, over the next couple of weeks – while I am flying between various locations, Coffee Break French is going to be the podcast of choice that I will listen to on my flights. In fact, I am already listening to Lesson 1, learning terms like “Yes”, “No”, “How are you”, “Thank you”, “I am doing very well”, etc.

Let’s see how it goes – I will have a real opportunity to see how well I can put the lessons from Coffee Break French into practice is just over 3 weeks!