French in America

Michael Bloomberg is a billionaire; his droning interpretative speeches are a devastating testament to acquiring a second language in America. I was born in Montreal, Quebec, which is the last remaining French region of Canada. Although French was taught in my Canadian elementary school, our remaining classes were taught in English. My family moved to Brooklyn, New York when I was nine years old. In America, the public schools I attended solely offered Spanish language classes. Without native French speakers at home, my lack of re-enforced practice and regularity upheld a language barrier. Any desire to independently learn was also thwarted by the social stigma; despite the French colonial assistance during the American Revolution, and congratulatory Statue of Liberty, French unfairly gets a bad rap in America.

Being bilingual is decidedly awesome, benefits include increased intelligence and delayed onset of dementia; then there’s automatic membership into an exclusive club. Imagine having conversations about sensitive topics, without relinquishing a clue of subject matter to anyone not involved. It’s especially wonderful when the person thinks they know what’s being said: No madam, he actually asked how you taste; watching you giggle at his accent is high comedy. There’s also the opposite effect of playing a fool, and overhearing conversations you weren’t thought to be privy to; which Americans would be smart to admit happens far more often than they’re aware of.

As an adult, in pursuit of every noted advantage that learning French has to offer, I have tried using the interactive Rosetta Stone, listening to Pimsleur audio lessons, and signing up for online DuoLingo courses. Each language program was started from the basic level. Difficulty was incrementally increased on schedule. Programs were repeated from scratch on numerous occasions. Every opportunity, though proven to instill and recall bits and pieces of information, has essentially gone to waste. The problem could be me; an undiagnosed brain tumor inhibiting my language receptors sounds better than a lack of discipline. My next course of action is pure overload: to concurrently try every option, while listening to French radio throughout the day. I expect to read, write, speak, and understand French within a month. A constant bombardment of language learning tools versus unreal expectations. See this space again in February for updates.

Because I believe the socially impaired have truly unique perspectives, sign is also on my short list of languages to learn. If there is another person out there who would like to partner with me for this learning experience, then please contact me through any channel on


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