Today, i am going to tell here how i decided to learn French, how easy (i do not rather to use "difficult" because it makes me feel so pessimistic) it was and what i am planning to do afterwards.
After i came back from Belgrade to Istanbul, i realized how good i am when it comes to learn foreign languages and how much i love it. In other words, i was starving to learn the other ones. Therefore, i decided to continue to learn foreign languages even if my Serbian classes end up. I already knew that beginning to learn another foreign language would confuse me while i was in the middle of B1 in Serbian. So, i decided to be patient and wait. After a period in which i was indecisive about choosing either German or French, i chose French because i had never tried this one, there were only two articles and Turkish contained lots of words with French origin.
I knew that (according to her) my teacher's second native language was French but i did not know that she had been teaching also French although i had not told her my willingness to learn the language of Molière. I was seriously considering to take French classes from her because i was used to learn a foreign language in English and i did not know the language of education would be Turkish or English if i went to a French course.
In June 2016, my grandmother was at the hospital due to an inflammation in her lung. While she was sleeping in her bed, i was observing the people outside. Suddenly, i came up with an idea. In theory, learning French in a year was possible by French courses. If i could learn French in just one year, then i could go to France next year to improve it. However, as i said above, i was a bit worried about the language of the education in courses. On the other hand, I had some doubts on the French knowledge of... You know who.
- Claiming that left word in every language on earth contain the -L letter whereas left means gauche in French.
- Claiming that the word kontenjan (quota) in Turkish does not exist in French (Fr. Le Contingent).
- Claiming that the name of this film is Jeux d'Enfance. Moreover, translating it as Childhood Game.
- Claiming that most of the Serbian words with Italian origin (Avantura, for example) are with French origin even though she used to speak Italian.
And so on... Therefore, i decided to take the risk. Just two days later, i found myself in front of the secretary of the French course. The day I started to learn French is 11th July 2016. I was scared that the education would be in Turkish but, i was surprised. Because hopefully, the lingua franca was French itself! In A1, the teachers rarely talk to you in English because normally, you do not know anything at all. But afterwards, they only speak French which is good. Because to me, it was just a matter of time to copy the accent. In Serbian, i had not been able to copy the accent till i went to Belgrade because my teacher used to speak Serbian rarely.
I cannot forget my A1 days... In our first day, a student was late and when our teacher welcomed him, she also presented herself: "Bonjour, je m'appele M..." (Hello, my name is M...). Then: "No... I know nothing at all..." said the boy in Turkish desperately. That day was like a messenger to me which was announcing that i would see lots of images from different aspects of life. On the other hand, when we were about to finish A1, a friend of mine and i were sitting in the café. When she heard a conversation in French, she asked me when we would be become this fluent. Then, i asked her: "Why not?".
Well, i loved there because none of my teachers used to ask disturbing amount of questions about my private life (which was enough for me) and even though none of them had PhD degrees (or none of them were doing PhD), they were extremely cultivated.
One week after the conversation with my friend, i showed my Serbian teacher the way out.
Alors (well), my goal was fixed. To go as far as i can go in French in just one year and then, going to France by Erasmus. Hopefully, French was the easiest language so far among the ones that i already speak. Why? Because, if you are a Turk (and Turkish contains lots of French words) and if you speak English very well (since 40% of English vocabulary is originated to French), French is the easiest language to learn on earth.
Here are some Turkish words with French origin:
Asansör = Ascenseur (Lift), Şantiye = Chantier (Worksite), Kontenjan = Contingent (Quota), Şarküteri = Charcuterie (Delicatessen) and so on... We also contain lots of words which end with -tion, -age and -ment.
And here are some words which are almost the same in English and French:
Obtenir = To get/To obtain, Cultiver = To cultivate, Participer = To participate, Réaliser = To realize, School = Ecole, Student = Etudiant, Stranger = Etranger, Courageux = Brave/Courageous, Merveilleux = Marvellous
As you see, we can take a suffix or a letter out and add another suffix or letter to verbs, adjectives of nouns. For verbs, taking the suffix -ate out and adding -er (which is the suffix of the imperative verbs of the first group). For the nouns which start with an -S, taking it out and adding the -E letter. And for adjectives, taking -ous out and adding -eux. Remember, these are not rules. I just wanted to show you what would be the coincidences you would realize if you decided to start.
According to the most of the French learners, the hardest thing to learn is le subjonctif (the subjunctive - and it exists in all Romance languages). But in my opinion, Passé Simple is the hardest one because it is a bit different than the other tenses whereas the other ones look alike. But it does not make it impossible. If you are a beginner, just keep these 3 things in your mind:
- Travailler does not mean to travel, it means to work. Also, rester does not mean to take a rest, it means to stay.
- The adverbs are after the verbs.
- Never ever pronounce -e in the end of the verb unless you talk about the past.
To be honest, i was really lucky that French was easy to me to learn. Even if i did not learned Serbian (which is relatively less easy) previously, i would think the same. I cannot say that i did not studied at all. No, i studied because French is clearly richer than Serbian and i did not want to miss a thing. There were just two times that i had to study really hard: the time when i had to learn le subjonctif on my own in just one night and the last three days before my Erasmus examination in March in case of a failure.
About my accent... Of course, i do not sound like a native. But whenever i talk to the locals, they say that i speak very well because i can pronounce the letter -r in French way which is crucial for them. It is about the throat. When i am fine, it's okay but when i am dehydrated, i sound like a pure Italian. :)
Notwithstanding, i can speak fluently. If i were a tourist in here, i would say that my French was clearly enough. However, as you commence to live in here, you realize that coming here as a tourist and moving here are not the same. Here, they would not think that my French is bad unless i use tant et si bien que, au fur et au mesure que, jusqu'à ce que etc. (But you have to learn them no matter what). They only look at me bizarrely when i cannot remember what was bâtonnet (cotton swab), coupe-onglets (nail clipper), panier (shopping cart), lessive (it means laundry but they use it to refer detergent), assouplissant (softening) etc.
But, it is not about the vocabulary at all. It is also about moving to a new country and getting used to a new system. Banks, for example. They are open on weekdays in Turkey whereas they are closed on Monday and open on Saturday till noon in France. And so on...
Well... At the beginning, I was planning to go to Orléans because it was the only school in France which my department had an agreement with. However, on January, while i was about to choose the school i want to go, i found out that there were two more: Université de Rouen and Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis. I searched them and i found out that Nice was the best among those three. Comparing the city conditions and the reputations of the universities... Later, our Erasmus coordinator sent us a mail in which she announced that there was a systematical error and these two were the universities which Economics in Turkish students could select. I was extremely disappointed because Sophia Antipolis was much better than Université Orléans whereas Economics in Turkish was much worse than my department.
Approximately a month later, while i was having a conversation with my Erasmus coordinator (who was also my Microeconomics and Environmental Economics professor), i told her the story. "When I talked to my colleagues in Economics in Turkish, they said me that no one selects there due to French. However, scandalously, there was a student last year. If no one selects again, we can make an arrangement." said my professor. And eventually, here i am...
I used to hate Nice last year because in my opinion, it was an overrated city. I was not even curious about here at all. Also, it was the city where my Serbian teacher discriminated her other student by inviting her to Nice and putting her up a month (as a matter of fact, it was the main reason that i showed her the way out). I found it out several days after my registration to the French course. I could have showed her the way out immediately but... But, i had some plans with her. Because there are two things that i cannot forgive in this life: making fun of my intelligence by attempting to trick me and discrimination. As a matter of fact, my arrival to Nice and this event are just a big coincidence. Nothing else...
I am still surprised that all my dreams from last year came true but it is impossible to cover my happiness and tranquility. No matter how happy and tranquil i am, i feel mentally exhausted. And finally, i think that i deserve a rest after two extremely exhausting years. Maybe i can begin to learn German on my own. Maybe i can continue to write my book which is called as The Two Sides. Maybe i can keep getting to know the tight but ancient streets of this city. But, it is for sure that:
I love learning foreign languages because it makes me more flexible, versatile and enlarges my perspective of life. For example, to miss somebody. The logic is: "I miss you." / "Seni özledim." in Turkish and in English. You directly miss somebody. But when we say it in French or in Serbian, these two languages offer you a different perspective: "Tu me manques." / "Nedostaješ mi.". What they might mean actually? I've just given the tip... Change your perspective... Think in the opposite way... Voilà: "You lack me."!
Also, i gained some habits from those languages. For example, i usually start to a story or a presentation with Alors... Because i adore its pronunciation. And i usually say goodbye with Ćao! (Ciao!). I can clearly see my future self who usually utilises ach so...
So, je vous remercie d'avoir lu, hvala vam na čitanju, okuduğunuz için teşekkür ederim, thank you for reading. Sorry for the long post, here is a pomme de terre au four...