Should I Stop Taking French Classes?
I am taking French 101 in college and have enjoyed the experience partially. However, I am somewhat disappointed. My teacher focuses little on practicing actual conversations; our class simply says one sentence at a time. And it's not just a 101 thing; it's his teaching style.
I realize I could switch instructors but I keep wondering if I'm just wasting my money learning a language in a classroom. Don't get me wrong, I like French. It's just that I feel like my learning experience is going slow like a snail. Perhaps actually studying in a French-speaking country would be better?
Learning 'actual conversations' at the beginning is pretty useless in the long run. It's much more important to learn grammar, so you can make your own sentences. When you go and talk to someone in French are you going to stop and dig around in your textbook and then hand them over the 'script' and take turns reading your lines? You should focus all your energy in learning grammar and memorising rules of declension and conjugation and memorising definitions, phonetic transcripts, punctuation rules, exceptions and so on and so forth.
Yes, the sooner the better.
>> When you go and talk to someone in French are you going to stop and dig around in your textbook and then hand them over the 'script' and take turns reading your lines? <<
lol! That is so funny! Actually, I think I'm going to try doing that sometime.
Yes, the soonest the best.....if you should stop taking Spanish Lessons.
«Learning 'actual conversations' at the beginning is pretty useless in the long run. It's much more important to learn grammar, so you can make your own sentences.»
Actual conversation can be quite relevant especially if taught well. This might seem a "duh" sentence, but indulge me. It's going to make sense.
I love the Pimsleur method because it focuses on the 500 most used words in the target language, and teaches you a number of useful sentences and conversations built only with those words.
But it also teaches you the most useful sentence *patterns*. This is important, you'll see why later.
Grammar-based lessons will get you to form your own sentences, this is indisputable. But is it the best way to do it?
With grammar-based lessons, you have to think about the rules before forming a sentence. "Uh, what should I end this verb with? It's the first person singular so it must be X" "Mmh, should this preposition come after the object? Based on rule Y, that must be it" This is good for your writting skills, but now try to have a fluent conversation when you're plagued with such questions...
Whereas with the Pimsleur method, you get used early on to form your own sentences based on the pattern of sentences you already know. Now you understand why I said earlier it's important. You develop reflexes. You don't need to think about all the underlying grammar rules behind a sentence to form it.
If in Spanish you can say effortlessly "Quisiera pedir un té" (I'd like to order tea) and know the word "café" (coffea), then you can utter "Quisiera pedir un café" spontaneously. You don't have to think of the way to form the first person singular conjugation of the verb "querer" in the present tense at the conditional mood, you don't have to know whichever rule states that unlike in English it should be "pedir un café" in this case and not "pedir café".
Not to say you shouldn't learn grammar. Obviously you should if you really want to master the way the language works. But to form sentences in a fluent conversation, sentence patterns and actual conversation examples is what will get you there. And no, there is no reason you shouldn't learn them right from the beginning. That's what children do when they learn their native language.
I never learned French systematically; it was rather chaotic (if I had more time, I should keep it just as chaotic, but at least with more exposure and with some regularity, which would be better), and with Assimil only. My feeling is that conversational class, in theory, should be a good option, ALONG WITH things like Pimsleur, not INSTEAD OF those. You might find it more beneficial to try a variety of courses; you don't work out for one arm, you work out for both, and probably the whole body.
Only you can comment on your class; but as I see it, it won't hurt at all for you to, as I say, try other methods too. As long as the class still makes sense, for whatever reasons you can think of, there IS the point of attending it as usual.
Xie, thanks for your comment. I suppose there is a method to all this madness to speak. I will continue pondering my reason for taking French in school.
The more French speakers the better.
you need the basics so go on your lessons
This is a website about using input. Go out and get some sentences, and fire up that SRS. Practice. Don't give up.
Il est possible d'être monolingue. As far as I know it is still not against the law.