Now I’m Ready for Anything!

French Street

Je parle et comprends un peu le français, et j’écris un peu le français. Mais pas très bien.

Translation: I speak and understand a little French, and I write a little French. But not very well.

My phone drowned in a puddle while camping at Flite Fest in July and I lost all of my time-tracking data, so I’m not quite sure exactly how much I practiced, but I’m fairly sure it was 12–13 hours—not quite the 20 hours, but it is nice to be back in the double-digits again. After self-control, travel is the greatest bane to rapid skill acquisition.

Learning French has been a lot of fun! I have the ability to do some very basic communication, have decent pronunciation and accent, and can sort of figure out how a word is spelled, just from hearing it. Duolingo says that I know 134 words, and there are even more that I learned with Pimsleur, so I probably have a semi-working vocabulary of over 150 words! This source says that the 300 most common French words are enough for everyday life, and just 600 words make up 90% of French texts. If the word/time learning curve is linear,  just fifty hours of practice would give you command of 600 words, and make you a somewhat capable member of French society! A diligent and motivated learner would be quite ready to live in France with just 2-3 months of language preparation.

Like any other skill, it seems that language is quite readily grasped with 20 hours of practice, and is really quite enjoyable. If you’ve ever wished to learn a language, go ahead and make a goal of practicing 20 hours, and go for it! You’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly you can learn, and how enjoyable it really is.

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