Like all good Ontario schoolchildren, I had mandatory instruction in French from grade 6 through grade 9, because Canada is a bilingual country and it was important for us to be taught how to say "pumpkin" and "werewolf" and "please may I go to the bathroom" in our second official language, because who knows, someday we might be stuck in Quebec at Halloween talking to a furry about the raging case of the trots we got from eating too much pie
I didn't learn much French during those years, partly because of the retarded curriculum that focused on "fun" seasonal vocabulary instead of actually speaking the goddamned language, but mostly because I didn't care.
Now, though, many years later, I *do* care. Once I finish my second MA, I'm going to be looking for a job in some branch of the Canadian government - data analysis, StatsCan, census, policy research, whatever I can talk my way into - and being able to demonstrate at least some proficiency in French will be a huge
advantage. So, I want to learn me some French.
My available resources for this undertaking consist of a battered French-English dictionary from grade school, a lot of free time, the internet, a cat, and about $20 in quarters. Unless the cat starts leaving solid gold nuggets in her litterbox instead of the standard squishy brown variety, I can sadly rule out picking up something like Rosetta Stone, and taking a university or college class is similarly out of the question. (Especially since I'm in the US as an international student, paying through the nose for tuition).
So, what's available on the internet as far as free French instruction, aside from pulling a 13th Warrior and staring intently into the flames of a fire on my desk while streaming Première Chaîne through my headphones for 72 hours straight? Anyone have any first-hand experience with learning languages online? What communities are out there for this sort of thing? I'm specifically interested in learning Quebecois French, but if that's just not an option, the European version would still be better than nothing.
Thanks in advance. Or, uh, merci, I guess.