J'aime le francais!
by Carolyn Osborne
I began learning French in junior high school. Unfortunately my studies stopped when I was in high school, due to a bad teacher. But when I got into graduate school, I had to be able to read competently in a second language and I took up French again. I began with the very first French class and worked my way up into graduate-level French classes.
I have several fond memories of learning and using French. One time, I read a novel in French that I had read in English. Because I already knew the plot, I had a wonderful experience reading it fluently in French.
Also, in Paris, I was able to order train tickets completely in French without having to switch to English (the trick is to use a more advanced verb form--I used the conditional).
Finally, I have played in a Cajun band and learned about Cajun French.
Learning any language is challenging. French is easier to learn than, say, Chinese, because there are a lot of French words that are cognates for English (remember--the French conquered England in 1066 and all French learners since then have been grateful). I used a flash card program on my computer and made thousands of flash cards to help me memorize vocabulary and grammatical construction. I highly recommend that people learn French--it is a beautiful language with wonderful literature.