Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Parlez-vous Francie?

I've been trying to be more cognizant of exercising more than just my body but my mind given the situation with my Grandma.  One of the biggest boosts to your brain you can do is learning a new language (or really learning anything new but especially a language.)  There's a great free site called Duolingo.com that allows you to learn various languages like French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, German, Irish, heck even Turkish!  It goes from basics to total immersion.

I chose French because we want to go to Tahiti at some point and while they do speak some English, we hear they appreciate it if you try to speak French.  Plus I would like to know what I'm ordering on a menu if everything is written in French or at least have an idea.  So for me this is two fold, learning a language that will hopefully benefit us on a vacation and keep dementia far away from my noggin.

Here is an example of one of my lessons.





It will give you a phrase after having you learn words and you must translate it to English and vice versa.

When it introduces a new word to the lesson, it highlights it in orange and you can hover over it to see the meaning.  You can also cheat a bit because you can hover over every word and it'll translate each one but I only do that if I'm super stuck.



I guess they are obsessed with rich people?

Some lessons come really easy and some frustrate me so bad that my brain literally throbs and at that point I know I'm forging those new brain pathways.  I read by several doctors that when you reach that point of learning something new and say "ugh, my brain hurts" and you kind of mean it that is what's happening.  That feeling will aid you in keeping even age related mental slips to a minimum. 

There are some things that no matter how much I see it on the screen, I cannot retain it so I will write down the things I'm having trouble with...



I will also write down word association things that help me like I could not consistently remember when to use Un/Une and La/Le, one meaning "A" and the other meaning "the."  So to help it stick, I noted that un/une that meant "a" both started with vowels and la/le for "the" both started with consonants.  Writing that down helped me retain that lesson and I haven't missed one since.

When you complete lessons, it will tell you how fluent you are in your new language.

I assure you I am not 15% fluent in French or at least I don't feel like I am.  I might be as far as reading it but conversational French...nowhere near, dudes.  But I hope to get there!

Everyday before I start a new lesson, I go back to the basic lessons I already passed and refresh them which you also get points for.  I want to make sure it sinks in and I'm amazed at how much I've retained and how quickly I breeze through some of them.

So if you're interested in keeping your brain healthy or want to be able to help your kids with their lessons in the new school year, head over to Duolingo.com and get started!

What new language would you want to learn?

(This isn't an affiliate link, just a cool site)

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28 comments:

  1. I need to start doing this too so I can try to catch up to you. It would be nice to learn another language and I would definitely like to be able to speak it in Tahiti cause that is a big goal!

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    1. Yes you do! We need to do that post it method where I label everything in French. :-)

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  2. I would like to tackle Russian. We have a lot of clients from Russia and it would be cool to greet them in their language.
    I find that at my age, late 50s, my brain hurts a lot! The thing that stretches me the most is to read and study theological books. Man, those get deep, but it's exercising my brain, and feeding my soul. Blessing!

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    1. That would be awesome and I bet they'd be more than happy to help you with the conversational aspects.

      Yeah, theological books would do it! LOL Good on ya!

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  3. I had 3 years of high school Spanish, but it didn't stick. I skipped about a semester's worth of the class (took Spanish one in jr high at a slower pace and ended up in a faster paced Spanish two my freshman year) and never recovered so it was a struggle to even get through the class. I read and understand more than I speak, but I'd like to learn to speak it well.

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    1. I took two years of Spanish but like you, it didn't stick. I did so bad. I think I can ask donde esta mi zapatos? Which I think means where are my shoes? But don't answer me because I won't know what you're talking about! HA!

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  4. I took 4 years of Spanish and lived in Arizona where a lot of my friends spoke it fluently with their families. I can understand a lot of it but still can't speak it very well. I think there are some people that can pick up language easier than others. My husband can speak French, Dutch and Spanish pretty well. He just has a knack for it it. He also has a knack for accents and imitation so I wonder if there's some kind of link?

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    1. Isn't that funny how you can read it but conversational is so much harder. It takes so much more to process it and then think about how to answer. I think people speaking that language would punch me after I ask them to say it slower for the 40th time.

      Hmm, curious, there could be!

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  5. I love Duolingo! I started the Spanish lessons hoping it might help me out with my job. I'm much better at reading it than speaking it so far. I think it is a really user friendly website!

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    1. It is definitely user friendly and I love all of the notes they give you under the lessons. I wish I could absorb them though. I'm so confused about definites and indefinites and what situations you use them in. Oy! I hope to get much better at it as I go and I scrolled the lessons yesterday and I have a LOOOOONG way to go! :-)

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  6. Thanks for that!
    I tried doing a French CD to review my French while driving (I figured if I had a 2hr commute to the mountains, I might as well use it to refresh my French). The CD drove me nuts so I never got anywhere with it.

    But I might try to do this this winter to refresh my French and Spanish

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    1. I got a Japanese and Hawaiian immersion CD about 10 years ago when I planned people's vacations to Hawaii and man that didn't help at ALL! So yeah, totally get that. I figured instead of trying Rosetta Stone that is so expensive, this would be better and then the immersion part I think is conversing with others on the site trying to improve their skills. Let's hope it works better than the CD's worked for us! :-)

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  7. Duolingo has an app too. The app lets you practice saying sentences, too. It will also say a phrase out loud to you that you have to translate. Does the web version do that? It's a really fun app!

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    1. I'm early in the lessons but they do speak the sentence you are looking at to translate. I'm going to assume that will come as I pass more lessons. They won't let you skip forward unless you test out. I can't wait to see if what translates on paper will work on the ears! :-)

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  8. You need to call and converse with Liza! She has taken a year and a half of French and is taking French 2b and Advanced French this year. She would love to speak it with you!

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  9. Pffft! I don't know why the above comment posted as "unknown", it's me, Kim Cooper...

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    1. HA! I'm a long way from being able to have a conversation with someone especially someone as smart as Liza! I'll remember that though for the future! :-)

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  10. I use the Duolingo App and LOVEEEEEE it. I was fluent in German 20 years ago, but not having anyone to speak with has me barely conversational now. I'm using it to improve my German and learn Spanish. My kids have fun with it too. They love learning Spanish. Good stuff!

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    1. Wow, German seems so hard! I wish I'd had it back when I was taking Spanish in high school. Senor Larger wouldn't have shook his head at me so much!

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  11. I love Duolingo!!! I was doing the Italian a lot last year but got busy with school and it fell to the wayside, but I also took pages and pages of notes! hahaha

    Love that you're having fun learning a language! You'll be fluent in no time!

    (And I love that my sister right above me has time to comment on YOUR blog but she hasn't commented on any of mine...HUMPFFFFH) ;-) lol

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    2. Ooooppps. Lol. I read it but I read it first and didn't have time to comment at that time. Fine....headed BACK over now. Lol. Don't mind us, just a couple a sisters being sisterly. :) Oh and I take Duolingo notes too!

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  12. I would love, love, love to learn to speak Gaelic and go to Ireland to see where some of my roots are from. When I was younger and my relatives from there came here I could barely understand them because their brogues were so strong, but I loved the way the words just rolled off their tongues. I do know how to say kiss my @ss in Gaelic though! LOLOLOL

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    1. What a beautiful place that would be to visit. That phrase could come in quite handy. Teach me sometime, I've got a few people I'd like to use it on. HA!

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  13. I love this idea of learning other languages. I speak French, English (not perfectly) and a bit of Spanish.
    However, as a French girl, I can tell you that Francie is a name. French language is called fran├žais ;) (I know, the c is weird).
    I'm sure you gonna male progress in no time!

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    1. Aww, you sweet mademoiselle, you make me giggle. Francie is American sarcasm...it's how some of the country folk in my family jokingly say parlez vous francais. But very sweet of you to point it out in such a nice way! :-)

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