30 minutes down
Every word I uttered felt strange. I knew I wasn’t saying everything correctly, and I felt rusty. I wanted words, but when I reached into the back of my brain, and reached again, the specific ones I wanted still weren’t there.
Stuff was coming out of my mouth that I knew wasn’t right. The people in my sentences sometimes didn’t match who they were (male/female), and the way I was describing them (big/small/inquisitive) didn’t match them either.
But hang on…. my tutor still seemed to be understanding me. I was able to understand almost everything she was saying, either from context, pictures, movements or words. It was a bit slow, but she hadn’t kicked me out of the room, or even put her hand up in a “speak to the hand” rejection. So far, so good.
1 hour down
I reminded myself again: still no English – that’s progress. One hour of French in the bag. Was it perfect French? Nope, but I’d never spoken French for a full hour before. My tutor kept correcting me, and most of the time my frustrated internal monologue said “Arghhh, but I know that! Why didn’t I say it?”. On the outside, I could only say “ouiii, d’accor. Merci.”. Yes, understand, thanks (for correcting me).
2 hours down
The end of the lesson. My brain was fried, but I’d managed to get through two full hours without speaking any English. My first one-on-one French lesson in the bag. I probably made tens, if not hundreds of mistakes throughout those two hours: but I struggled through it. I felt proud, and felt that I’d got a lot of practice. Each time I made a mistake and my tutor corrected me, I was one step closer to not making that mistake again.
Some new vocab? Check. A bit of an improvement in grammar? Check. A good, long slog of conversation all in French? Check.
It was a struggle, but a great one with a sense of achievement at the end. Even though I was frustrated with myself at times, wishing I had more words at my disposal and made less mistakes, I’ve done this before. I know that it’s all part of the learning curve, and in order to get better, there’s no choice other than to keep trying. I’m looking forward to the next two hour session.
Just in case you haven’t seen it yet: I just released my first book aimed at helping people learn foreign languages by making learning part of every day. You can read more about it here.
Question: What have you had to struggle through when learning a language? Share in the comments.
Photo Credit: I Am Not I