Ray en Francais – J’ai peur

I’m not writing this whole post in French you can relax.

It takes me three times as long to write in French and since most of the people who currently read this blog are from my OU writing module it’s not very fair to just dump an entire post that’s unreadable to most people.

If you don’t know what the post title means; J’ai peur = I’m scared. Currently I’m finding my French module a lot more intimidating than my writing one. I kinda know what I’m doing with writing, at least in the sense that I can put words down in a row and they manage to make sense and be marginally interesting to at least me. The worries I have about writing at the moment are more related to not knowing what I’ll do with the words once I have them and whether other people will like them.

French however, is a whole different kettle of fish. I’m not saying I’m shit at french – on the contrary, to anyone who has only studied to GCSE level I may seem like I’m fluent. To my Yr 7 & 8 students when I was a TA in French lessons I was basically a native. But when it comes to the degree level modules that I’m doing suddenly my ability to speak with a pretty convincing accent is just not enough to get me through. When my marks are relying on my ability to teach myself grammar points and make an effort to learn vocabulary around a topic and then use both these skills together, everything is a lot scarier.

I’ve been avoiding picking up my French textbooks for the last two weeks or so and now the module has officially started I really need to shuck off this fear otherwise I’m going to be left scrambling to complete my TMA at the start of November having not done most of the activities for this topic. I am going to have ample time to do everything in my textbooks for both French and my Writing module so I gotta make the most of it.

To this end I wanted to just make a concrete list of what is scaring me right now about this French Module. I’m sure that if I show this to my boyfriend later he’s going to frown at me and tell me I’m being ridiculous (I probably am) but it doesn’t mean that I don’t think these things.

Fears for L211

1. I won’t understand the course materials

2. I won’t be able to think of the words I need/want to use

3. I don’t have the level of grammar knowledge I should have by now

4. I won’t be able to keep up with the activities each week.

5. My TMAs won’t be complex or accurate enough for this level

6. The other students will be will better than me.

7. I will fail.

So there you go. Those are the worries that are currently making my attempts to do French seem all silly and pointless. Now I need to tear up this list before it just infects my brain with its toxic negativity.

Do tell me I’m being an idiot.


Tricky times in translation

It’s damned inconvenient when you want to read the introductory paragraph to your French course book and can’t without comprehensively translating the whole thing because you don’t understand the odd word or phrase that is rather necessary to knowing the overall meaning of the text. *le sigh*

I will be the first person to admit that I am a terrible French student. I’m a lucky cow in that I can speak it fairly well and *sound* like I’m possibly French but my reading comprehension is probably not equivalent to my having studied the language for something like 14 years (although frankly Yrs 5-8 are pretty much the same thing every year). I really kinda suck at sitting down and reading French texts and actually picking out the words I don’t know and making a conscious effort to learn them so that I can read the whole text without having to translate it fully.

I’m also probably getting awfully lazy at conjugating verbs since I have my beautiful verb table book (I do also have a Bescherelle book but since all the grammatical explanations are in french it’s less helpful). Why bother to remember which groups of verbs have a third person vowel change from “e” to “ie” in the present tense if my handy dandy verb book can point me right to the page I need instead? There can be such a thing as too many language books since I don’t necessarily need to retain all the vocab and verb knowledge if they’re so easily accessible on my bookshelf.

In the end I managed to translate both the introductory paragraph and the first paragraph of the first section. It took me a good chunk of my afternoon since I’m not quite up to maximum productivity yet *coughtwitteraddictcough* but I think I was able to get close the true meaning of some of the words and phrases that I didn’t previously know. Of course it doesn’t help in the slightest when one of the words which is exactly the same in French as it is in English and you still don’t know what it fucking means. Exhibit A.



I had to bust out both my bi-lingual *and* my English dictionary for this little bastard and I’m thoroughly sick of the word. I’d much rather say “…after the law, which reduced working hours, was brought into effect…” but I imagine that is going to make the French a bit more complicated hence the use of the word “promulgation” for succinctness.

Hopefully if I get myself ahead with reading the textbook and making copious notes of the words, phrases and grammar structures that I don’t know (even though I probably should know them by now) maybe by the time that Envol starts properly in October I won’t be feeling quite as much like a fraud who somehow fluked her way to a 90 on her TMAs and 70 on her EMA for L120.

I gotta lot of work to do though.

Ray x

Planning out my studies

So this morning I received a parcel with my study books for my OU French Module – all *eight* of them.  IMG_0701I was a little shocked since my Level 1 Ouverture module only had two coursebooks and a writing book yet this time for Envol I have six books for each study unit plus a study guide and writing workbook. So it’s going to need a fair bit of space on my shelf. Alongside it will be my BRB (Big Red Book) which is the workbook for my Creative Writing module and *that* book is a beast that I can use to bludgeon people with if they disturb me once I get into my work zone.

Now I’ve got the books I need for my two courses (still questioning my sanity over this decision) I can make an effective plan for myself to manage what tasks I need to do for each subject every week. The study guide for the Creative Writing course is an actual godsend because it has an explicit breakdown of what activities (reading, writing, etc.) you should be doing as well as time guidelines so that will basically become my bible for the A215 course.

My Envol course is going to be a little trickier as I will have study materials and activities to do from several sources; the unit textbook, the writing book and the audio-visual materials from the OU website. So I’ll have to try my damnedest to not forget the online stuff  – I tend to prefer having study materials in book or paper form because the tactility (apparently that *is* a real word) of them makes them more real for me and it’s harder to forget I have them to do.

I’ve worked up a basic timetable so I can organise my days effectively and not procrastinate on Twitter for half a day and then get irritated with myself for not having done anything. Currently my plan involves me getting up at the same time as Le Boyf every weekday and taking the time between 7 and 8am to get up, dressed and caffeinated  so that come 8 o’clock I can retreat into what will soon become my work office (AKA the spare room) and get cracking on whatever tasks I have for the first half of my day.

I’m hoping that doing four hour blocks of work (most likely with a tea break half way through :P) will mean I can get a productive amount done without falling over the edge into boredom because that’s when I’ll start to get distracted and procrastinate. After I have a lunch break I’ll then switch to my other subject and do four more hours work on whatever tasks I have for that. By the end of an 8 hour day I should hopefully *crosses fingers* have a quantity of work that I’m actually satisfied with so I don’t feel guilty about doing other stuff after dinner.

Unlike many OU students who are probably juggling part-time or even full-time jobs as well as studying either A215 or L211 (there are probably not many folk crazy enough to try two modules on top of a job) I will have the almost luxury of being able to arrange my studies without the worry of fitting the work in around other things beyond not completely ignoring Le Boyf by staying closeted away in my office once he gets home from work. I just have to make sure I don’t squander that luxury.

Now this post has taken far longer to write than I planned, I will have to get better at quickly bashing out blog posts in my self-assigned breaks so that I don’t waste work time by blogging about studying.

Have a good night all!

Ray 🙂