Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tonight marks the first night of my Finnish classes. I am SO excited - I've been counting down the days for weeks now. In preparation, I've been trying to think in Finnish when possible, though unfortunately without much luck. I have quite a large vocabulary still, but my head is all confused now the "le/la" and "un/une" and all kinds of French grammar.

I seem to have a one-language brain. Meaning my brain seems to be able to handle only one language at a time. The better my French gets, the worse my English gets, and vice versa. I used to speak Finnish fairly fluently and now I can barely form a sentence. I know it's all still in there, and will come back quickly, but I'm wondering what effect it will have on my English & French.

The most frustrating thing for me though is the fact that I have lost my "knack" for the Finnish accent. Years of trying to properly pronounce the French R and all the nasals have triumphed over my ability to correctly pronounce Finnish words. I think that's the worst hit to my ego - I have never sounded like a foreigner when speaking Finnish, and now I sound like a French person trying to speak it. Super.

I am still excited for my classes quand même though, and I hope it will be a good way for me to meet some more French people. I signed up for the beginner's class just as a way to revise all the basics (for example, for some reason I am drawing a blank on how to say "Thursday"), plus I will be traveling a lot for work between now and Christmas, so at least that way I can make sure I don't fall too far behind!



Blogger The Big Finn said...

Thursday is torstai.

Normally, I only speak Finnish for a few minutes per week when I speak with my dad on the phone. I always find myself having to practice rolling my Rs for a few days before seeing him in person. It's true...the tongue gets lazy. Yeah, my Finnish gets rusty, but it always comes back pretty quickly. AND...I think it's pretty good for somebody who's never lived in Finland.
I'm sure your Finnish language skills will come back quickly too.

October 2, 2008 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger The Big Finn said...'re really lucky that you're able to take Finnish classes. We actually walked by the Finnish Institute by chance when we were in Paris a couple of trips ago.

I wish I could find some Finnish speakers here in Basel.

October 2, 2008 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger Jo Ann v., a writer on the D-List said...

Sam, can I ask you why did you start learning Finnish and how come you became fluent and all ?
I've been following you for a few months only, so I don't know the whole story behind it :-)

October 2, 2008 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Hey Sam and TBF,

You guys can practice your Finnish together in Paris... I hope that Susa can join us, too... She's a full-fledged Finn..... Take care and enjoy your class... I'm sure it will come back to you...

October 2, 2008 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger misplaced texan said...

That's really wonderful! I dream of the day when I can stop fussing so much about learning French and get back to speaking (and re-learning) Italian - the one foreign language I really love. Good luck with the first class; I can't wait to hear how it goes!

October 2, 2008 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

How cool! Good luck and have fun! In the meantime I will work some more on my French ;-)

October 2, 2008 at 6:41 PM  
Blogger MISS YURI said...

dude that is AWESOME, i feel like i have the exact same feeling about ballet as you do about finnish! i went to my first ballet class in six or seven years last night and it was excellent, though my calves are killing me today.

October 2, 2008 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Ksam said...

Jo Ann, my mother's side of the family is from Finland, and I grew up hearing it spoken all the time. And then my parents sent me to Finnish camp every summer for a month, plus we took numerous trips to Finland. I also studied Finnish at my university, which led to me living in Helsinki for a year. And I pretty much met Fab and all my Finnish stuff fell to the wayside, while French took over.

October 2, 2008 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger Alisa said...

Oooh have fun! I'd say good luck, but I don't think you need that :)
I feel like I'm also a 'one-language' person, every language I try to speak now, I speak with a french accent. I'm contemplating taking spanish classes once I get settled, but I'm worried it'll push all the french out of my head!
Let us know how it goes!

October 3, 2008 at 12:13 AM  

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