Saturday, January 31, 2015

dans la classe...

Just some photos from inside our classroom this's a glimpse into our daily lives in french immersion school:

The pace is very quick here, in the 3.5 weeks of class work we have done, we have covered more concepts than I learned in my (Suzanne's) entire college spanish class.  

We are thankful for great classmates and a one very excellent teacher.  

We have 20 hours/week of in class teaching- 5 hours per day each day except Wednesday, which is a study/catch up day.  At this point, our instructor teaches the class almost entirely in French.  We have homework assignments each day, an exam to take home over each weekend, and in class "dictées" (dictation quizzes).  
Nick and I both find dictées the most challenging, because it requires so many different skills at once:  listening and comprehending the sentences, spelling, remembering all the accents, conjugating verbs, remembering how to indicate masculine, feminine, and plural words....writing in French requires a lot of attention to detail.  

there's my seat- next to Heidi.  Heidi and her husband Konroy (sitting next to Nick) are headed to serve in Cameroon.  They also live down the hall from us, and when both of us can't remember what our homework assignment was...theirs is the door we go knock on.  :)

A look into my study notebook, where I recopy the notes from class...

Someone stuck this comic on the door of our classroom :)
We feel like this every day- our brains are very full!

We've had snow almost every day this week- it looks beautiful outside!
the downside is going out to run errands on foot or by bicycle :)

the house in the photo is on campus, next to the main building where we live.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

why are we studying french?

Just wanted to post this picture, because it is an excellent visual reminder of why we are investing all this time, effort, and money into  becoming French speakers:

Meet Francophone Africa....
(click on the picture to see a larger version)

This map shows the huge area of Africa that is French speaking- learning French will open doors for us to serve MUCH more effectively in these nations. (that's a lot of places where we could teach about how to correct clubfeet!)

As French speakers, we will be more equipped to work, teach, train and serve in any number of these countries- we can't wait to see what doors God opens for us in the future!

Here's another perspective, which shows just how enormous this continent really is- look how many countries fit inside Africa!

Please pray for our French studies!
We want to learn as much as we can during this time- more french now = better communication later.
(I took this picture at an elementary school in Guinea, our classroom looks a bit different) :)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

chasing away the natural

"chassez le naturel, il revient au galop"

(chase away the natural, and it returns at a gallop)


Our instructor used this french saying several times in the last few days- a good theme as we dive in to French studies and pronunciation.  We're going to be doing lots of "chasing away" our natural English speaking tendencies. 

This week began with a few days of orientation to life and studies here at CCEF (Centre Chrétien d'Enseignement du Français). All of the students here are learning French for the purpose of use on the mission field, most will go to Africa and a few will stay here in France to plant churches.  Most of the students are married with children, and come from a wide variety of missions organizations (Mission Aviation Fellowship, Samaritan's Purse, and many more).  

  A few thoughts on class....

 Our first real class was Thursday- we have a fantastic teacher who has many years of experience here at the school.   The first days of class have been devoted to learning to pronounce French vowels, and recognize combinations of them in written words.  Our tendency as English speakers (with English brains) is to look at French words and try to say them using the rules of English phonetics, which won't get you anywhere near the right pronunciation.  And not a single French person will know what you are talking about.  



So, "chasing away the natural" has mostly felt like speech therapy this week.  (scenes from the movie "The Kings Speech" flashed through my mind several times in class)  We are learning an entirely new set of rules for how to process written words.  And a whole new way of moving our mouths, which has made class really entertaining.  Just get a group of English speakers together to practice their french "R" sounds and you'll see.  :)  The French language uses far more muscle movement.  A person can speak English and barely move their mouth- not so with French.

Nick and I have already worked in French speaking nations and picked up some vocabulary, but we've never had formal instruction.  I have already had so many "light bulb" moments, the language makes so much more sense when someone explains the rules. 

The pace we are taught at is very quick here- please pray that we are able to absorb all the French we can during these months!  The more we learn, the more effective we will be later on.

Here are a few photos of our apartment here on campus.  We just head down one set of stairs to get to class....kinda like the ship :)

The wood paneling on the walls in the living area is my favorite thing about the place...makes it feel like a cabin.

 This was my decorating project from yesterday, I love having some of our own photos around the apartment... (photos printed with the awesome 10 euro printer Nick managed to find for us...that guy is good at finding deals) :)

And a few more photos from this week...

first trip to the Saturday market last weekend...

Thanks for reading!