I never really learned a language other than American. (Yes, American. I think our country is finally old enough, different enough, and diverse enough to make the claim that what we speak isn’t The King’s English. We’ve got our own dictionary, fer cryin’ out loud, and it’s filled with word no self respecting Englishman would utter in public. I say it’s time we drop the ‘English’ in ‘American English’. Who’s with me?)
In junior high school my guidance counselor, who was hispanic, told me that Spanish was becoming the official second language of the U.S. and that I should learn it so that I could keep up with the changing social landscape of America. So, I wound up sleeping through all 4 years Spanish. The thing is, my guidance counselor was nearly right, Spanish is the unofficial second language of the U.S. It’s so sad, I think I remember how to count to ten.
I should have taken French. I don’t know what it is or why it’s so, but French just sounds good to me. When it’s spoken by the fairer sex the French language can have an aphrodisiac affect on me. Perhaps in a previous life I was French, and that life was spend pursuing simple pleasures such as good wine, good food, and wonderful women. My good friend, Carmen, speaks French on occasion to taunt me, she knows I have a fondness for the sound of a woman speaking the language fluently.
Carmen can be cruel at times, and she’s not even French.
My fondness for most things French (and most things Carmen) has only grown over the years. I’m not a fan of escargot, but frog legs lightly battered and sautéed in butter are excellent. I will never wear a beret, but I enjoy old French music. I will likely never live in Paris, but I do love the city. The memory of the short time I spent there lingers with me today, and it always makes me smile.
Ah well, it turns out that it’s never too late to make new memories and learn new stuff, it’s just that, with an older brain, there are fewer places to store what I’ve learned. Be that as it may, I’m going to attempt to learn some French basics, and I found a free app to help me with this task; Living Language - French for iPad.
This is no set of flash cards, Living Language - French for iPad offers 3 complete lessons, including vocabulary, tests, and games to immerse me in my new language. There are word association and sentence builder games, photo/word matching and more. When I’m done I should be familiar enough with what was taught to use it in a Frenchy situation. (Maybe I’ll finally learn what Carmen has been saying to me all these years.)
When I’m are ready for more I can opt to buy the rest of the lessons through in-app purchase for a completely fair US$19.99, or book a trip to Paris.
For now I’ll opt for the additional lessons, it’s cheaper, but that doesn’t mean I need to rely on my fading memories to enjoy Paris. Fotopedia, that absolutely wonderful app that’s always chock full of amazing pix of people and places you wish you could see, offers a free virtual tour of Paris.
Fotopedia: Paris is literally brimming with parisian landscapes and views of well known, and not so well known, but equally captivating attractions. Start at “Start Here” and take in the gorgeous photos one at a time. Each have info associated with them so you can learn about what you’re looking at. You can then locate where the shot was taken on the built-in map and build a trip list by simply tapping the “Add to trip” button.
I’ve always been a big fan of Fotopedia, they have all of their photos index five ways to Sunday so I can easily find anything in particular I’m looking for. But if I want to just let the slide show take over while I play La Mer (I have several versions of the tune in my iTunes library) in the background, I can do that just as easily.
It’s hard to believe that all of this Paris viewing goodness is free, but it is.
If you hunger, literally, for more things French you can always whip up a batch of Ox Tails in Red Wine, which you can easily make because you can now download Best of French Cuisine for free!
Don’t worry if your current cooking skills barely includes boiling water, Best of French Cuisine gives you step-by-step instructions on cooking basics, IN VIDEO!!!! And each recipe is laid out to make the process of creating a culinary masterpiece as painless as possible.
The app include 50 recipes to get you started. If you exhaust all 50 there are another 101 recipes to be had for US$4.99.
Best of French Cuisine is free for a limited time (normally US$3.99) so grab it while you can.
That’s a wrap for this week. More free French stuff below with direct links.