Sunday, December 11, 2011

Language Acquisition for Adults

The trick to a good French accent is completely bullshitting
and reading phonetically. This is true also of German.
Sometimes I get the feeling I should just suck it up and buy a copy of those old Muzzy VHS tapes and learning to speak French like a child.

You see, there's an incredible allure to French. Much of it, I imagine is the notion that I can't understand it. Oh, I pick up bits here and there, mostly from Latin roots and some cognates here of there, a few particles and proper nouns I heard repeated enough along the way (some from the Muzzy commercials themselves, c. 1993).

Trick is, I kind of suck at learning languages, which–as a writer–is kind of infuriating. Being a type-A, anal-retentive, obsessive planner, it's an ordeal for me to try to do anything I haven't mastered already. So of course, speaking is weird.

"Let's take words you spent 20 years learning, translate them into different words, and then rearrange that code into a new code. Then, when someone responds, decode that and rearrange it until it's 'real' words." Pretty sure that's not how words work. Which just makes me think I should grab some fuzzy French Muppet cartoons and have them enseigner les l'Américain stupide.

On the up-side, I've been told my accent is marvelous.

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