Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lost in Translation Slash Various Other Forms of Linguistic Subterfuge

Amidst epic frustation, I frequently find myself wanting to throw metaphorical objects into space... or rather, directed at specific people, things, or intangible concepts. I don't wish to do physical harm to anything, hence the metaphorical part, but there are certainly a variety of issues and situations that that make me want to turn into a petulant child. In a more visceral interpretation, I am often reminded of Paul Rudd's character in "Wet Hot American Summer" when he pushes random foodstuffs off the table in the cafeteria and behaves like a fractious four year old when asked to clean up his mess... French class this week (or probably in general) was bringing out the most imaginative forms of this scenario. 

The French educational system can be rather traditional, especially when it comes to languages. Grammar is at the crux of their teaching method... Grammar, grammar, maybe a bit of vocabulary, than a bunch more grammar. I spend two hours every morning listening (never speaking) to my teacher prattle on about the confusing and horrifically challenging forms of French grammar. While I fully understand the need to learn these rules, I don't think anyone is necessarily encouraged by two hours of the same thing without interruption or variety. Tenses followed by pronouns followed by listening followed by death... There are times in class where we might read a French poem, I actually did get to present a topic in French a few weeks back, and I find my teacher is usually very clear when explaining things. But I remain sitting... and sitting... and sitting... and all of a sudden I start wondering if the walls are covered in "red rum". 

As a teacher myself, I have learned that, no matter what age you are, without a little variety your brain begins to clog and regurgitate information. It makes you cranky and irritable and reticent to learning. More importantly, I am pretty anxious to be able to SPEAK French more fluently, and while I understand that learning the basics is an important platform to achieve this result, I can't help but think that if I never use what I learn, I will forever be able to conjugate a verb but never hold a real conversation. Though, to be completely honest, many aspects of grammar are completely lost on me anyway. And when my teacher tries to convince us all that the rules are entirely logical, my desire to throw metaphorical objects starts slowly morphing into the idea that physical objects might in fact be a much more practical option. As illustrated below, my penchant for the dramatic continues to prevail...

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