Will he or won’t he?
This is the question in the back of my mind as I read Flirting with French, by William Alexander. Reading Flirting with French, you follow William, who at the age of 57, has set out to master the art of French speaking. He gives himself a year to accomplish the daunting task before he’ll be spending a lengthy time there.
“French,” he writes, “beautiful, maddening, tenacious. It won’t let me win, but it won’t let me go.”
The book was recommended to me by my blogging friend, May. She’s a lovely blogger with grown children who’ve spent extended time in Paris.
Of course, planning my own extended stay in France, I want to learn to speak the language, at least enough to cover the conversational basics, knowing that when I’m there and immersed in I’ll get the best tutelage of all.
I was an English major in school, and linguistics classes were some of my favorites. I love languages, their organic formation, their dynamic nature. For anyone who enjoys the nuances and history of language – Flirting with French is a charming memoir.
On Instagram, don’t you love Instagram? I’ve discovered a site that offers a clever way to build one’s French vocabulary and master coloquial expressions. It’s simple and something I look forward to in my feed several times a week. It’s “French Words.” Julian Azarian created the Instagram site in August 2013, so he’s been posting for a little over three years now and amazingly has some 500,000 followers. Me included.
Here’s are a couple samples, sometimes with simple illustrations, sometimes not:
You can follow him on Instagram here.
But, back to the French flirtation with which Mr. Alexander engages.
Does he or doesn’t he? Learning a new language is tough. And Flirting with French is an entertaining amble through the French language and its history – through linguistics and brain science.
Can we, should we, attempt a new language after 50?
Near the end of the book, after you’ve experienced his successes and failures, his triumphs and times when he wants to give up, Alexander writes, “the most important French lesson learned over the last year is this………..
Well, I won’t spoil it for you.
Does he master the language? Or does he determine he’s too old for the challenge? I hope you’ll check it out yourself. Because win or lose, I think, like me, you’ll enjoy his journey down language’s quirky, interesting way of coming into being, and maybe or not, into our psyche.