One of the greatest pleasures of my job is when people share stories with me about the successes and pleasure that they get from having spent time learning French.
A couple of weeks ago I received a text from Lesley which was truly uplifting. Lesley and Fred had just come back from a French boat owners’ weekend, that included a 4 hour boat owners meeting no less! 4 hours of French in a meeting! Followed by lunch and dinner in French. Total immersion for a whole weekend.
Lesley and Fred started learning French with The French Room about 3 years ago, when they bought a boat in France and decided it was time to learn the language. Some people shy away from learning new things when they stop working, but not these two.
They committed themselves to learning French and they went for it. Duolingo has been “de rigeur” every day for about 10 minutes combined with their own personal shared class that they come to every week, unless they are travelling of course.
What they have achieved though, goes beyond being able to speak French. They have made a connection with the other boat owners, and have come from being mere observers of French life, to being fully welcomed into a group of French people and therefore into the French way of life. This is not the rite of passage of every French learner and is incredibly precious, if you really value French culture.
Some of Lesley and Fred’s friends have asked whether they still need French classes now that they can speak French. There is a common perception among non-language learners that you either can or can’t speak a second language. It’s a strange assumption to make, given the years we invest in mastering just our own native language.
But those of us who do speak a second language know that the quest for greater fluency never ends and that this is one of the greatest thrills of learning another language.
Lesley and Fred are well on their way with their French and can really participate in French life and connect with people in their second language. Bravo! This is a great life achievement!
Lesley and Fred started learning at Level 1 at The French Room and are currently at level 3. There are 5 levels at The French Room with a large number of learners at level 5. Which just goes to show. You never stop learning!