Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Like A Chump

Marc and I are going to Paris over the winter holidays. We both speak limited Spanish and I know a trace of German and Italian (thanks music training!). Unfortunately, neither of us can speak a lick of French.

With a little more than two months still to prepare, I decided to make the most of my hour commute each morning. I bought "Learn French In Your Car!" The title is hokey, but I was attracted to the idea that the program was geared to the aural learner. I was also attracted to the reasonable price tag, considerably cheaper than that of, say, Rosetta Stone.

I was so excited yesterday when I decided it was going to be My First Day Of French. The course I purchased contains fifteen lessons. The first few are very basic and practical: Modes of transportation; Simple phrases and greetings, "Important" words (toilettes is very important).

Usually I keep a strict code for myself when I get a new CD and force myself not to skip around and instead to listen straight through. I couldn't resist, though...I wanted to learn how to order a meal. I decided to skip through the tracks for a quick sneak preview.

And that's when my purchase began to feel like something you'd expect to see advertised in a Saturday Night Live skit.

(chime) "Lesson Six: Numbers" (skip ahead)
(chime) "Lesson Seven: More Numbers" (skip ahead)
(chime) "Lesson Eight: Big Numbers" (skip ahead...seriously? why didn't they just put all the numbers together in one lesson...)
(chime) "Lesson Nine: Very Big Numbers" (What?!! are you kidding me?! @#$%$&*(#@)

Four out of fifteen of these lessons are just numbers. My husband, the king of moral support, reassured me by mentioning that you never know when you'll need to order 30,000 baguettes.

But the Very Big Numbers? They only go up to 99.

1 comment:

julie said...


David DeFranza wrote a fantastic article (think it was on Brave New Traveler) a few months ago about 8 ways to learn a new language. I checked out one of his recommendations- the BBC (FREE!!) language lessons online and found them super useful!