Thursday, 26 May 2011

French

I'm sitting here preparing for my last final exam in French. I have already finished the exams for grammar, composition and speaking, and this time the subject is... literary history. French literary history from the Middle Ages to the 20th century and while I'm sitting here I'm trying my hardest not to think: What's the point? But that's what I do. All the while I'm trying to remember the names and most important bibliography of a huge array of French writers, I continuously think "What's the point?".

The reason we got for studying this seemingly pointless subject was that the French are very proud of their history, including their literary history, and that there would be a time when we would be very glad to have this knowledge. I would so much have liked to have told my teacher that I know three French people and I've never had any reason whatsoever to discuss literary history with them. I'm fairly certain thar her reason only applies if you actually hang around the kind of people who are really interested in their literary history.

It's not that difficult until I come to the 19th century. Most of the French literary history all the way from Middle Ages through to the 18th century and the Revolution is actually covered in our secondary school's teachings in general literary history. But I thought I had outgrown general education. I thought I finished that part of our educational system when I entered university.

This course isn't only about learning the names and bibliography of old French writers, no, it's also about reading. But that's a good thing. I know you need to read and come in contact with the language a lot to actually learn that specific language, but the books our teacher assigns us... I love fantasy!!! This term she assigned us existentialistic works by Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Émmanuel Carrère and Annie Ernaux. Joy of joys. Next term I've heard that we are reading 19th century authors. But! We won't be reading the fun and interesting books of Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas or Jules Verne, no, we will be reading realistic works from the likes of Balzac. I heard that we actually will be reading Balzac. In French. Joy.

Thing is that I love French. I love the language. It's beautiful. But it has always been a hardship to study. Partly because it's hard for me to find any real and lasting friends amongst the people who study French. Partly because the French teachers are really stuck up and without a sense of humour, which makes the classes very boring and strict facts-like. All these boring classes and people cut down my enthusiasm and lately I've been questioning my choice of career more oftenly. Maybe I should give up on the French and Translator education and return to Japanese and study linguistics in that language? But as soon as I think that my stubborn side kicks in every time. No, I like this language. I will finish it. I will become a translator. I have time for both French and Japanese, but French has to come first. Swallow the bitterness and keep on going. Maybe next term there will be some new people? Some interesting people. Some fun people.

I have just one year left. One year! I feel like it's too close to quit now. I'm too close. I won't give up. I'm exhausted from all these exams so close on eachother. I will keep on fighting.

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