Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A la Francaise

an early nichelodeon
I haven't been working on my first draft edit of Flo in the City, my novel in progress about a girl coming of age in the pivotal 1910 era based on the letters of http://www.tighsolas/. But I did take the hard copy out from under the coffee table and smooth it down a bit with my hand.
I have been listening to French audio books free online at http://www.litteratureaudio.com/. For a while I have tried to find the equivalent of BBC Radio Four readings online in French and I just found this large library of books - recently posted - and believe it or not - I am listening to Sense and Sensibility in French only because I stumbled upon it first and I have just heard a dramatization on BBC Radio 7. I should be listening to Zola..which I will.
I'm trying to upgrade my French. I have classic anglo Quebec French, very strong in some areas, poor in others. Classic for my age group, who learned French in the classroom mostly. Almost all of my classmates moved to Ontario or beyond, largely for lack of French. (As I wrote elsewhere, the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal was the second highest performing school board in North American in the 60's. My classmates went to to career success for the most part.) My kids attended 50 50 immersion and aren't totally bilingual. You don't learn French in a classroom. (I actually found document form the late 1800's, Quebec Education Ministry, where this was stated and underlined for emphasis. They knew it back then.
(My mother was a very well educated French Canadian, but that's another story.) I am also listening to Curb Your Enthusiasm in French. It has snappy dialogue so is good to listen to.) I don't like French TV anymore than I like English daytime TV. I am watching Musee Eden on Societe Radio Canada, and have been blogging about it.
Improving your language skills is much easier in the age of DVDs and the Internet. Although I do not like listening to Colin Firth doublé as the actor who voices his characters does not that that rich theatre voice, which is one of CF's many charms.
I have also been reading essays for the Heritage Course I will be taking online starting next month. Very interesting and very well written essays on an area I am now convinced is right for me. Museums are all about MEDIA. And I have worked in the non-profit sector and I have an understanding of early education issues like learning styles.
My favorite and most influential read back in college, where I studied Film and Communications, was WAYS Of SEEING, which was a small book based on a BBC Television Program.
I've taken 30 years to find out what I really want to do, sort of. Because I haven't changed much from what I wanted to do in my twenties. There are just so many more options now. I also taped Young Victoria off the satellite. Well, I bought it. So I have lots to do - and nothing at the same time.
Anyway, I've been practicing my French at the hospital, talking to nurses as my father in law, 90, is ill. Most doctors can speak English, but few nurses from what I see. One nurse, according to my aged father in law, actually told him "You're 90. You should speak French by now." It's an awful statement, especially since it's the old folk in Quebec who don't know French. But I won't complain: I don't want to rock the boat. If I get people mad, he could get worse treatment (and they are fairly nice)or worse, be kicked out of the system, like my mother, last year, and left to fend for himself. Hey, it's sleeting outside. Gee. We've had such a warm dry spring so far, and now it sort of snows.