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December 7th, 2010

Fun with Language

I've been missing foreign languages lately. I haven't really spoken French since my last class at BSC. I wish I could get back into it, but it's entirely very difficult not being around anyone that speaks it. Watching movies in French could probably help, but I don't watch a lot of movies more than once, and unless I'm already familiar enough with it, I'm not good enough to get it the first time. I've been trying to figure out a way to ease back into it a bit at a time.

A funny thing happened the other day, though, that sparked some fun. Megan updated her iPhone to the newest firmware version, and a known issue is that your music library disappears. Looking up the solution, we found that it was to change your language, start your Music app, and change your language back. Well, Megan happens to have taken French in school as well, and we're both still passively interested in brushing up, so she decided to leave her iPhone in French. I did the same thing. After laughing about the cognates faux-cognates for a while, I realized I probably know my way around my phone well enough that I don't need to change it back.

Then, something else happened. The Facebook app detected that we were using French as our system language and changed its localization as well. Well, after using it for a while, it became kind of fun. So we switched our Twitter and Facebook accounts on the real internet to French as well. I've started changing all the social networks and apps I use one by one. I also found where you can change Firefox to "prefer" French language versions of web pages as a default, but after a little while with that, I decided I'm not ready yet.

But I'm learning some new verbs and vocab that in a familiar environment is not only fun, but probably more applicable to what I do day-to-day than the types of vocab we learned in school (train station jargon doesn't do a lot for you here in the states). I figure at some point I can start trying to read web pages such as news stories, but it'll be a while until I get back to that.

Of course this doesn't nothing for listening/speaking skills and there's a lot more I need to brush up on than vocab and phrases (tenses and moods, for example), but it's a start.

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