|Coucou Brooklyn offers French classes at all levels.|
I’ve always wanted to learn French, so I took my first French class at Coucou Brooklyn last Saturday. After years of spitting out ballet terms (grand jeté, tendu, sauté, arabesque, échappé!), naturally, I thought I would have a head start on learning the language. I quickly discovered, however, that much of speaking French well is in proper pronunciation (like any language), which I have pretty much overlooked since I learned my first word (plié) at the age of five. Just like those double pirouettes, I’ll need to practice, practice, practice my French!
Coucou Brooklyn is the only independent language school in New York City dedicated solely to French. Cousins Marianne and Léa co-founded the Williamsburg location after growing up in Paris and Toulouse respectively. Léa was my instructor, while Marianne taught a more advanced class in another space. My group was small (only four students), which gave each of us as much attention as we could possibly need in the two-hour session. We learned the basics of l’Alphabet Francais (the French alphabet), which includes accents and special letters like “é,” “à,” or î, and combinations of letters like “ez,” “er,” and “ei.” In French, “e” sounds like “euh” and “oi” sounds like “wah.” “Ch” sounds like “sh” and “qu” sounds like “k.” If I could just master these, I’d be a pro in no time.
|Léa (left) and Marianne (right) are the co-founders of Coucou Brooklyn.|
I really like Léa’s teaching style. She writes a word on the board; students listen to her explain and pronounce it, and then each takes a turn saying a similar word. She leads the class at a comfortable pace, and she’s patient. Even when I said a word that sounded neither like French nor English (oops!), Léa said the word again, and encouraged me to give it another shot, and I was much improved the second time around.
|The atmosphere at Coucou is homey and relaxed!|
|Hanging with Marianne and Léa after my class|
Coucou Brooklyn offers group classes (no more than 10 students) with a personal touch at all levels, as well as private instruction. For Francophiles, the school teaches Yoga in French (how fun is that?), French Theater, and even Knitting in French. But what I like most about Coucou is the philosophy. Like me, most people who want to learn French are also intrigued by the culture, and Coucou combines learning the language with aspects of French life –– like the 35-hour workweek and proper French table manners. And of course, no matter what you learn, you learn it in French.
|A classroom at Coucou Brooklyn|
Class was almost over, but not before the homework. Léa assigned basic greetings in our handouts, some of which I had heard or used before, such as “Salut,” “Bonjour,” and “Au Revoir.” Even the terms I had never used like “Bonne Nuit (Good night), and “Je m’appelle” (My name is), I had heard in passing or read at some point. But there was one word that was unique, fun sounding, and more casual than the others: “Coucou” which translates to “Hey!” How apropos.
Whether you’re a Débutante, an Intermédiaire, or a Spécialiste, Coucou Brooklyn offers classes at a variety of levels for the French in all of us.