EDUCO gave us a 1 week intensive French course at the beginning of orientation, and then a placement test at the end. The placement test placed students into a grammar course, a phonetics course, or into APP. I happened to be exempted from the courses based on my placement score, so APP it is for me.
EDUCO gives us 2 meetings (1 on 1) with a trained French Linguist/Grammar instructor. I had my first meetings this past week. She listened to me talk and then told me what I needed to work on. I learned so much! She was super helpful by explaining the way to make the proper vowel sounds by how you shape your mouth and where your tongue is in your mouth. I know it sounds silly, but these are things I simply never learned (in French nor in English) and I have vowel problems in both languages. One example, to say any -ER verb in the infinitive correctly, you have to smile on the last syllable, otherwise it’s not the most precise production of the sound. One of the hardest words for me to pronounce in French is Chirurgie (surgery). She helped me syllable by syllable. The first i sound makes the E equivalent of cheese, which requries a smile while you say it. Then there are two r’s and if anyone’s heard French before, they know the infamous french “r” is very very very different. This again requires a different shape of the mouth, and a different placement of the tongue. The end of the word is back to the E sound, so back to the smile shape. Whew, it was a tongue twister of an hour!
We also worked on liasons. Oftentimes in French, you’ll take the last letter of one word (if its a consonant), and prounce it with the first letter of the second word (if the second word starts with a vowel). What I learned: there are actually rules for when you do and don’t do this. The rules change based on how formal the situation is. WOAH these are two totally new things for me!! This phenomenon also works with certain vowels in the middle of words… sometimes you pronounce them, sometimes you don’t… all depending on the formality of the situation.
And then, we worked on developing more of a sense of bilinguality. For instance, in English when someone’s talking, they have certain gestures they do, or certain words they say inbetween thoughts when stalling. In English we gesture a certain way when we talk with our hands, or we say “um” or “like” or “so”. In French, the words, gestures, etc are different.
The professeur gave me some worksheets and information packets to work on for our next meeting later on. I am so incredibly grateful for this experience. I found it incredibly interesting and super helpful!!