Thursday, August 17, 2006

Pure old bragging (paca)

I took the French placement test today and passed into the year 3 courses. That's right. I started taking French 101 in June and two and a half months later passed out of two years of French. Do I rock? Yes, I rock.

Of course, year 3 is going to suck considering how spotty my knowledge is, but well, whatever. Now I can check this off of my requirements list. 2 years of French, one summer. Check.


J said...

woo hoo! bon bon bon!

-E said...

french isn't that difficult a language. how many languages do you know (not necessarily fluently) now? it seems like the more languages you know, the easier it is to learn new ones. i only know 3, but that was my experience.

Sammy Jankis said...

Well, I'm impressed. It took me three years of high school to get through two years of french (took French 2 twice). Given my inability to comprehend foreign languages, I aimed squarely at a major that had not foreign language requirements in college. Of course, when I changed majors in my fourth year I was back in the middle of the requirement again. But, I found Latin to be EXTREMELY intuitive to learn. I even had two different professors try to convince me to become a Latin major. Of course, I'm sure that they were just desperate for Latin majors in order to justify their paychecks so they probably tried to recruit anybody who showed half an aptitude for it.

Sammy Jankis said...

Oh, does that take care of your entire language requirement for your PhD? Are you taking French 3 for personal fulfillment? Or are you required to continue?

kristybox said...

"french isn't that difficult a language." Well, not like Chinese. But I just looked at my college transcripts, and French is one of two classes that I made C's in. I thought it was pretty darn hard.

So I am truly impressed. Damn, you are smart.

-E said...

i was speaking in the linguistic sense. french is not a difficult language to learn if you are in the business of learning languages.
not everyone is good at learning languages, but if you have an aptitude for it (as i suspect paca is) i am not suprised he picked up french so well... and much faster than i would have also.

pacatrue said...

Thanks everyone for the congrats and also for taking my bragging in the right spirit. I was just pretty stoked after passing the test in just the way I wanted to. I almost always aim rather high with my goals, enough that N frequently rolls her eyes, so I get excited when I actually meet them.

To answer questions... French is no easier than Chinese to learn for a child (at least we have no strong evidence that this is the case), but French is certainly easier for an English speaker to learn. There's so much shared vocabulary that you can guess a word a quarter of the time. In Chinese, you can guess, maybe 2 words in the whole language (mama and baba), and even those you can't guess from the characters. Chinese grammar is probably easier for an English speaker than French grammar is, but Chinese has tones (same "letters" but at a different pitch makes a different word) and, of course, the killer writing system. You have to spend soooo much time studying characters. It's three quarters of the time or more, which is then not time spent learning to speak.

I think this does take care of my language requirements now, which is exactly why I was rushing through it. I want to take my comprehensive exams in the Spring, and I might not have been able to if I was still taking French 202. But that's now off the list. However, I am going to keep taking French because some of the postdoc positions I am interested in are in Quebec and perhaps Belgium. I want to be qualified for them. Also, I've never actually learned a language well enough to truly speak it. I wouldn't mind changing that, and it might as well be French.

To answer e's question, I have studied Chinese, Japanese, French, and Latin. Plus, of course, I read about languages all the time. It does indeed make things easier. I am just not spooked by terms like pluperfect (or plus-que-parfait, as the case may be) and relative pronouns.

Thanks again, everyone!