Sunday, May 14, 2006

Out on the town

We went out at painted the town a bit on Friday, which was the first time we've done so in Paris. We're having a good time here with our new roommates-- making dinner together, hanging out, watching French-dubbed movies on TV, speaking a lot of French.
I'm improving my French a lot, but I know I need to study and actually try harder to really take it up another level. And living with people my age is enabling me to learn more, uh, colorful expressions than proper speech, of course. That, too, is a very important component of attaining fluency-- yet that is not to say that I am in any way nearing that level. I am starting to be able to interpret overheard interactions for which I don't fully know the context in advance, I'm understanding French TV and movies better (recently watched As Good as it Gets, Back to the Future III, part of Dr. Doolittle with Eddie Murphy, and various MTV trash), and there are times at school where I can almost be on autopilot in terms of interpreting the teacher and responding accordingly. I'm starting to notice there are times where I go beyond understanding the gist of what someone is saying, but actually hear each word. As some of you are aware, this is no small feat in French, the language of a jazillion articles, pronouns, etc. I found someone's very illuminating piece about French fluency here which talks about cultural perception, linguistics, expressions, etc. Picked up quite a few useful things from it, as well as some interesting (if at times tedious) history.
Continuing to work on my Italian, but I feel it's an uphill battle at best. When I listen to my roommates, it may as well be Martian for all I can tell. Watched Italian TV today for a while, but it was barely any better. It's too damned fast! It seems many Italians I talk to are happy to help yet at the same time mildly discouraging of learning the language, which they say is both difficult and not terribly useful to know in the world. Though true that may be, I'm not giving up just yet.

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