Where can I find tales of language learning?
August 29, 2007 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find tales of language learning?

I'm looking for some stories of people's struggles to learn a language (ideally French). This could be something like a website dedicated to these kind of anecdotes or a non-fiction book about the author's struggles to acquire a language. There seems to be a distinct lack of a human element in all the language learning resources I'm using. Learning a language is quite a struggle, and it would be nice to hear from fellow travellers on the path.
Any suggestions?
posted by greytape to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. Dear god, this is one of the funniest books I've ever read. It's a collection of short stories, and many of them (including the title) deal with his experience of moving to France and trying to learn the language. I'm taking French right now and have been meaning to re-read this book for the same reason.
posted by kimdog at 12:43 PM on August 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

There's a really funny chapter in David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day about him taking a French class in France.
posted by emd3737 at 12:45 PM on August 29, 2007

check this out.

i can tell you my experience learning in spanish (i've been living in Madrid for two years) was quite a struggle but got easier as time went by. the real trick is to find a "long haired dictionary", if you know what i mean.
posted by BigBrownBear at 12:55 PM on August 29, 2007

Great question! I'm also interested in the personal aspect of learning a language.

The "Language Log" section of the "How to Learn Any Language" forums has plenty of threads devoted to personal experiences with language learning. (Actually, you can find interesting anecdotes scattered through the whole board.)

The "How I Learned French in One Year" story on kuro5hin is more informational than personal, but! It's really, really fascinating. :) Early entries on the author's Livejournal might have a few brief French-learning anecdotes.

Russkiblog is a fun (if quick) read on one woman's attempts at learning Russian.

If you Google "'learning french' blog" or something similar to that, you'll probably dig up a few blogs. Once you find a good "language learning" blog, you can look through the blogger's blogrolls and find even more cool sites. (In theory!)

Good luck! I tried keeping a blog on my attempts at learning Japanese, but it fell through. Maybe someday. ;)

On preview: Dear God, yes, Me Talk Pretty One Day is both charming and ridiculously hilarious!

If I find more, I'll post 'em up.
posted by ElectricBlue at 12:56 PM on August 29, 2007

I agree, I would definitely choose Me Talk Pretty One Day. In particular, there is a great section entitled 'Jesus Shaves' which involves students of french trying to explain Easter to a muslim who doesn't know what easter is, and the concept of chocolate eggs and where they come from (Easter bunny vs. bells).

Here is an audio version:

posted by farfaraway at 12:58 PM on August 29, 2007

French Lessons by Alice Kaplan is a very good book.
posted by OmieWise at 1:05 PM on August 29, 2007

Mark Twain's The Awful German Language is good for a laugh (and now in audio).
posted by evil holiday magic at 5:03 PM on August 29, 2007

I agree with Me Talk Pretty One Day. Really hilarious.
posted by la petite marie at 9:39 AM on August 30, 2007

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