Ta-Nehisi Coates on learning French

11 Oct

I like to highlight individual learning projects on this blog. Ta-Nehisi Coates has written a number of times about his efforts to learn French:

I am emphasizing how I “feel” because, when studying, it is as important as any objective reality. Hopelessness feeds the fatigue that leads the student to quit. It is not the study of language that is hard, so much as the “feeling” that your present level is who you are and who you will always be. I remember returning from France at the end of the summer of 2013, and being convinced that I had some kind of brain injury which prevented me from hearing French vowel sounds. But the real enemy was not any injury so much as the “feeling” of despair. That is why I ignore all the research about children and their language advantage. I don’t want to hear it. I just don’t care. As Carolyn Forché would say—”I’m going to have it.”

4 Responses to “Ta-Nehisi Coates on learning French”

  1. Enrique Guerra-Pujol October 11, 2017 at 8:22 pm #

    Am I the only one who thinks TNC is way over-rated?

    • jecgenovese October 12, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

      Perhaps, while I may not always agree with him, I find his writing powerful and thought provoking. I was fascinated by his account of his book loving father in his autobiography The Beautiful Struggle.

  2. Kathy H October 12, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

    I looked him up on Wikipedia. I was impressed with his accomplishments.

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