French, c’est pas grave.

French lessons man. I just said the wrong thing like four times to a person. Ugh. Mais c’est pas grave.

So Johnny and I are taking french lessons at Lyon Bleu. It’s one of two schools we found here in Lyon. They have a program set up so you can take however many weeks you want, but also they don’t. I’m not sure what I expected but it’s really different than what’s happening.

They split you up by levels, so I am, unfortunately, in A2 because my speaking level is lower than my actual knowledge level. I did very poorly on my oral exam. I just have speaking anxiety–I actually probably have every anxiety, but that’s a different post. This means I’m stuck learning the same things I have learned before. For example: L’impératif. And les adjectifs. And it’s annoying, but also I understand. Though I don’t really know if I have improved much in my speaking. I almost feel like I have more speaking anxiety than before. Johnny is in the B1 level, which he belongs in. It’s good for him.

So we are here for two weeks and we are in classes with people who have been here for six weeks and for three weeks, like it’s just if you are A2, you are in the A2 class with these other people which is great, so you don’t have someone who is a C1 (advanced) speaking with someone who is A1 (beginner) because it would be difficult to have them help each other. In my class I sit next to Dario, who is Italian and he is learning french and today I helped him with accents and he helped me with prepositions. But what is interesting is that lets say I was A1, and I didn’t know prepositions very well. I could miss out completely on that, because they have an eight week program. So right now I am going into A2, but it’s the end of the A2 program and Johnny is in the end of the B1 program, we missed out on six weeks of information.

I didn’t realize this wasn’t common until I talked to someone else in my class. She had just finished a language program in Italy and she said she liked it better than here. At the other school she said they place you in the beginner class and then you learn the basics. As you feel comfortable you move up. I talked to some people about somehow being in the B2 grammar classes since I didn’t feel like I was learning much in my classes, but it was a 100% no go. It felt really weird, I am paying for these classes and I’m learning what I already knew but I just have a hard time saying it out loud.

But I do think that in general, I am happy with the class situation. It’s just one week, and so the next week could be different, it could be a lot better. Also I am using the B1 tutor. Today I went to the tutor for speaking with Johnny and Dario. There were people of higher levels there and it was great to listen and understand everyone. That’s one thing I am certain of: I have way better comprehension than I do speaking ability. I will keep you updated on how it’s going. I talk with the people who are hosting us a little bit, they are super nice.

If any of you guys are learning a language, please PLEASE speak it. Seriously.  I know I’m getting better at speaking, just not in front of the teachers. I am not going to include this in my Lyon series since it’s not really travel oriented, just language-learning oriented. I will write another post on this after the second week! Let me know if you are learning another language and you are struggling with speaking anxiety like me!

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A wanderer with a camera.

One thought on “French, c’est pas grave.”

  1. Nice post on learning French! I think it is difficult to know what stage you’re at sometimes – especially when you start taking lessons again! It seems really easy to want to stay in the easier set so that you’re comfortable, but I think it is better to go a bit more advanced and try and make up the difference. I agree with you that it is really important to speak the language outside lessons, but sometimes it is so easy to transition back (especially when you’re native english speaker!) Thats pretty much where I am at now, I feel like I know most tenses and it’s just a case of learning new words and practising speaking 🙂

    Bonne chance


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