Friday, April 16, 2010
Le Petit Prince - learning the words
As a high schooler I was required to take a foreign language. I'm not sure if that is the case now but it was when my boys were in high school. If they wanted to go to college that is. Which they did. Because we said so.
The languages taught at Auburn High in the mid-seventies were Spanish, German, and French. I took French. Why? Why, does any teenage girl take French because it's romantic. Because maybe, if the moon is the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars our mothers will let us go backpacking through the French countryside after high school. Yeah, right! That happened.
I can't remember the French teacher's name because we were never allowed to call her anything except Madame. Madame was a stout old woman. Well, we thought she was old. She couldn't have been too young because 30 years before she was in a concentration camp in Germany. She proudly displayed the tattoo that the Nazis stamped onto her wrist. It made us afraid of her. Very afraid. I think she liked that.
One of the assignments was to pick a French children's book to read. I choose Le Petit Prince.
It turned out to be my favorite book. I read it over and over again for many many years. I took special care to learn all the words, all the meanings of the words. This one book helped me to speak French better than any of the 4 years of French classes I'd ever take. Learning the words would have been harder if I hadn't had this book to learn by. Those French, they have different words for almost everything.
And the illustrations aren't too bad either.
If you are trying to learn a new language my advice would be to start watching children's shows and start reading children's books in that language. It worked for me. And while I am no longer fluent in French I can still read it fairly well.
I'm fairly lame when it comes to participating in the Spin Cycle but I think this qualifies. That right Jen?
PS: The book has been translated into English if you don't want to have to learn French to read it but what I will say is that reading children's book in a foreign language is the best way to learn.