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Thursday, July 27, 2006

why study french?

ok, so i'm sooooo excited about learning this new language that i'm checking out all the places in town to start my studies this fall. alliance francaise de washington comes highly recommended and lists the following 10 reasons to dive into this fine language on their website:

You will find French speakers on all continents around the world. French is the native language of some 200 million people and is the second language of millions more. In Europe, it is spoken in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
In the Americas, it is an official language of Canada and spoken in the Carribbean.

It is the language of the well educated in parts of Southeast Asia, North Africa and much of Western and Central Africa. Being able to speak French is an asset for anyone interested in working in international organizations such as the Peace Corps.

French is a key language in the European Union of twenty five nations, the world's largest economic entity.

With a population of 350 million and a gross national product larger than the United States, the European Union is an economic superpower.

French is a language of business. Today, American companies have over 2,000 subsidiaries in France, and French companies have over 600 subsidiaries in the United States. Major corporations with headquarters or subsidiaries in the United States and France include Du Pont, Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, Apple Computer, Michelin, Renault, Bic and many more.

French is a language of technology and medicine. Dr. Luc Montagnier discovered HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The Chunnel under the English Channel, the TGV high speed trains, and the Concorde are only a few examples of recent French technological advances.

French fashion designers, artists, writers, musicians, chefs and filmmakers have had a wide influence in the United States and the rest of the world.

Impressionist painters like Monet, musicians like Ravel and Boulez, novelists like Flaubert and Camus have had an influence on world culture. Many recent American films like Three Men and a Babyor Point of No Return are remakes of French movies. Where would Julia Child be without French cuisine? Who hasn't heard of Christian Dior, Chanel, and Pierre Cardin?

French is the language of influential, religious, and intellectual movements. Jean Calvin helped define Protestantism; Enlightment writers like Voltaire championed human rights; Simone de Beauvoir was a prominent feminist, and Michel Foucault was a founder of postmodernism.

French is a language of tourism. Paris is the third most visited international city by Americans. France is the second most visited country in the world, and Quebec offers a taste of Europe in North America.

i'm smitten. anyone want to join me? répondez, s'il vous plaît

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Anonymous said...

Hi, great that you are excited about learning a new language. In my experience so much depends on the teacher. I spent years in school learning long lists of irregular verbs and complicated grammer - the result I had little confidence when it came to speaking as I was so worried about making mistakes. Then at University the lecturer on the first day annouced 'you have 9 weeks to learn the Italian language and then we start the Italian literature course'. The approach was brilliant and after nine weeks as promised we started reading Dante!
After 9 weeks I spoke so much Italian and yes you could say I had years of French grammar, which is very similiar, behind me but even today if I'm ever in France I find myself thinking in Italian and then adapting the verbs and words to sound French as I just have so much more condifence.
I highly reccommend Michel Thomas as his approach is brilliant. He is especially good for beginners as he teaches you how the language works - no long lists of irregular verbs, and grammer, no silly scenarios and role plays which you never use. He makes you think about the language and gives you so much confidence to start speaking and that's the point languages are alive and should be spoken not studied for hours in books:)

Anonymous said...

You go girlfriend!

Hey, I've got an idea for you. How about a cross-branded beach towel with Kimberly Wilson and Jeff Gordan?

Anonymous said...

P.S. You so rock!

Anonymous said...

i keep putting off signing up for intermediate french, but when i do, you can be my french pen pal

Anonymous said...

I had to learn French at high school. I have forgotten most of it now though.

I used to have a French penpal. I don't think either of us ever understood each others letters and we eventually stopped writing to each other!

Anonymous said...

Bonjour Mademoiselle Kimberly, I love anything French, and I have taken classes at the French Alliance in Houston. I like that the various Alliances have small classes and usually the teachers have been French natives. It's a truly beautiful language. Au revoir et A bientot.


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