Well, I haven't started learning French completely from scratch. Oh no. I have an academic qualification. In French! A grade "C" GCSE. For seriously.
Unfortunately, the only thing I can remember from studying French for two years is how to request that someone does something impolite to their mother and how to say "potato". Now that's great if I want to start fights with root vegetables, but not really useful in the real, actual world.
So, where has everything I learned gone? Is it still in my brain, in some mummified form, waiting to be resurrected into an unstoppable French-speaking force of nature, like a linguistic Mumm-Ra? Or has it been replaced with all that vital (but English) adult knowledge of spreadsheets and pin numbers?
Well, all today I listened to French hip hop on my mp3 player. Hoping that some words would pop back. Hoping that it would trigger the French DNA dormant in my brain stem to create new French cells (um, I also got a "C" in Science). But nothing. Not a single "where is the post office?". I don't know how to say "post office". I used to. And now I don't. How did that happen?
Well, after racking my brain I asked the internet about French words that exist in English, hoping that I could add some to my list. Unfortunately, I only knew about 30. And while some of those words are pretty sweet, for instance, "agent provocateur", "coup de grâce", "coup d'état", they're not really taking me past the whole potato-provoking sweary stage.
So, what am I going to do, to go from 32ish words to fluency in four months? Simple: I'm not going to do any of the things that suck when learning foreign languages.