There was a time when I worried that my spoken French was getting so good that people might not realise I wasn’t French. Not that it happens very often, but in certain contexts when I’m talking about things I’m familiar with I can be quite fluent, yeayh 🙂
Then two things happened. First, I was at the airport and I was stopped by the security man who wanted to see inside by bag. I said one word to him, ‘bonjour’. The response? ‘Vous parlez très bien français’. With just that one word he could tell I wasn’t a native French speaker. Some time later I was at a social do and met some new people. Again, the only word out of my mouth was ‘bonjour’. This time the response was ‘ah, ce joli petit accent’.
I’m sure whether I should be reassured or discouraged. On the one hand, I know that so long as I start with ‘bonjour’ nobody is going to wonder if I’m French or not. One the other hand, I’d love a French person to mistake me for a native speaker.
I’ve been told it’s picked up in that bête noire of Anglophones, the r. I’ll keep working on it.
- beyond the WC: french you’ll actually use (yellsoftly.com)