Our newest sponsor, Pimsleur, has offered to teach us foreign languages while we travel. This is really exciting as having the ability to communicate with the people we meet while traveling will add a whole new level to the experience on our around the world trip. It’s nice to think that everyone in the world speaks English, but that is far from the case and not knowing the local language can cause a lot of problems and limit your travel experience.
We will be living in France for the first 2 months of our journey so Pimsleur has given us French lessons to start out with. I took a year of French in high school and Kerri took French for 4 years in high school and a semester in college, but neither of us can remember much and really need professional help. We downloaded the Pimsleur language program from their website and were impressed with how much there is. The file format is MP3 for the audio portion and the written portion is in PDF’s. We imported the MP3’s into iTunes so we can listen to the lessons on our iPods, but I will also burn the lessons on CD’s and listen in the car on the way to and from work. The language lessons use native French speakers so the pronunciation is correct, which actually surprised us. The surprise was not that the guy is French but the pronunciation of many of the words. I think our high school French teachers should have used the Pimsleur program because they taught us wrong! I sure hope you are reading this Mrs. Bangs! The program has you listen to a 30 minute lesson once a day, or listen to that same lesson more than once, and then move onto the next lesson the next day. I find this very easy to do at work with my headphones on and mouth the words. They say you should speak the words and phrases out loud, but I don’t think my co-workers would appreciate that. So, I will speak it out loud in the car to and from work.
When traveling to Spanish speaking Latin America in the past we have tried to speak with the locals using Spanish dictionaries, phrase books, and laminated cards that have common phrases phonetically spelled out. The problem with this method is once you ask your question you will rarely understand their reply. The other method we have used is the ever popular foreign language charades where you act out what you are wanting, and they try to answer you in a similar fashion. This method is very embarrassing and not very practical, but can work in a pinch. But learning to speak the local language is the best option and we are really excited that we will be able to speak French in just a few months time. Thank you Pimsleur!