Thursday, February 26, 2009

Resurrecting my French novel

2nd page of "Chapitre Deux" so far ...
On Sunday I started back working on my French novel after having done nothing on it for the past month or two. My French on the whole was suffering from abandonment. As a result I was losing touch, losing interest, losing my vocabulary.

But ... starting back with the novel seems to be a good thing, like striking a new match and applying it to the coals, so to speak. The flames aren't flaring yet, but they're glowing. In order to learn and retain, my brain does best when it finds creative ways of applying and experiencing the learning material (rather than just having it on the pages of a text book). Hence the novel.

This is basically how I'm writing it ... whenever we do a new chapter in the textbook, with whatever new vocabulary there is, I include it in the next stage of the novel and allow it to guide the plot. I find that makes it easier to recall and retain the new vocabulary, because I remember the story and the words that I used to construct it. Having a visual mind, I remember how the French word looks on the page (of the novel, not the texbook) and, from the image of it, I remember what it meant when I wrote it.

I confirmed this last night in French class when we were looking at a copy of the front page of a French novel. The word éblouissant was in one of the titles and notre professeur asked us what we thought it meant. I remembered it instantly because I had used it in the novel. I remembered that at the time I had thought "This is my new favourite word". I couldn't remember what it meant until I visually saw where I had placed it in the novel and saw the scene unfold like something from a film:

... inside the big tent, the colourful circus lights, the transfixed audience and the clown coming onto the stage in her dazzling outfit.

"It means dazzling," I said to le professeur.

That's what I mean by remembering vocabulary visually through the novel.

I'm supposed to be reading something at Campus Literature Week (1st week of March). I agreed to do a reading without knowing what I would read! I don't have anything new that I've written/been writing other than my French novel ... so I think I'll read an English translation of a portion of it.

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