I’m addicted to this song at the moment – it just about sums up my life right now 🙂
P.S. If you want a good exercise in speaking French, try singing along with the lyrics…
I’ve posted before about how French speakers can identify a non-native speaker just from the one single word ‘bonjour’. One of my current quests in life is to perfect my pronunciation so that it will take a few more words than just ‘hello’ before someone detects that I’m a rosbif.
The other day I came across the very wonderful Cheryl A. Demharter (aka FrenchSounds) who looks like she may hold the key to the holy grail 🙂 Check out her fantastique YouTube vid.
What a difference a day makes. Today has been a big improvement on yesterday. The job I’ve been waiting for all week finally arrived, plus the next two chapters in a slow-time book project. Chewy’s back, and I’m perking up a bit.
I went to my usual French class this morning and that was better too. Last week’s session was a big of a drag, but this week was fun. There is one thing that drives me crazy in these classes – the irritating English. And what irritates me most about them is the nonsense they talk. Last week an allegedly native English speaker tried to maintain that there was no such thing as ‘exploding’ with anger in English. OH YES THERE IS. In the same session someone offered ‘sensible’ as a translation for the French ‘sensible’. It really doesn’t help!!!! And a few weeks before that, another compatriot tried to tell the French speakers that cows ‘browse’ grass. Not where I come from they don’t.
So Francophones beware. Next time an Anglophone tries to ‘help’ you to speak English, get a second opinion!
Today I went to my weekly French conversation class. I haven’t been for ages, but I love it. It’s an equally balanced group of Francophones and Anglophones, we have a set topic and everyone has to talk in their non-native language. What generally happens is that folk start out in their non-native language, and then, as they get passionate or involved in their topic, they slide into their native language. At which point another member of the group will remind them to speak in the other language.
Well, guess what happened today?
There I was gabbling on, asking intelligent and pertinent questions in an interesting discussion about the Algerian war of independence when my neighbour tapped me on the arm. ‘Tu dois parler en anglais’ she said. I was puzzled. ‘Mais je suis anglaise’ I replied. It was only as I was saying it that it dawned on me that she had mistaken me for a native French speaker.
Happy dance, happy dance 🙂 (Even if she was German).
It’s odd that The Artist won the Best Picture award at the Oscars. It shouldn’t have. Why? Because the Best Picture award is actually awarded to the Best Picture “in the English language”. Anything that’s not in English goes into the “Best Foreign Picture” category. The Artist, being a French picture shouldn’t have had a look in. It’s only because it was silent that it could even be nominated for the big prize. If anyone had uttered a word (well, maybe a sentence) it would have been relegated to the outer realms of the awards world. I guess next year we can look forward to more silent films from South Korea, Iran and South America.
Anyway, my point is that I’d never heard of Jean Dujardin (star of The Artist) until the film came along. It turns out he’s a piece of French culture worth knowing about. Not only has he made many other films, he also played Jean in the series Un Gars, Une Fille. Now, if you don’t know what this is, you must immediately go to YouTube and search for it. There are nearly 600 episodes so you should be able to find one or two.
Un Gars, Une Fille is a marvel if you want to understand contemporary French culture and learn colloquial French. I’ve been looking for something like this for ages. While I can perfectly understand endless hours of documentaries, the news and any politician, everyday chit-chat often leaves me lost. If you are in a similar position, watch Un Gars, Une Fille and learn! In short (six minutes or so) episodes we follow the lives of Alex and Jean, a typical(?) young French couple who endure all the usual pains and pleasures of living with a partner. I’ve long held the theory that the reason Chewy (aka Mr S) and me argue so little is because we have different native languages. We can’t argue because we don’t know the words in each other’s language. That may be about to change.
Since watching the series, I’ve realised that I’m still fa-a-ar too English to pass for a typical French girlfriend. In fact, I see now why Chewy likes me. This must also change – and it’s not about the language. I need to develop some attitude. Proper French girls are far less accommodating and much more stroppy than me. Out with the search for compromise and harmony, and in with a straightforward ‘tu m’énerves’ and ‘non’!
One of the few pleasures of my daily struggle to master French is that every so often I learn a new word that really tickles me.
I still hide a little smile every time we drive along the motorway and I see the Des hommes travaillent sign. I know it means ‘Men at Work’, but my head always goes for the literal ‘some men are working – and it’s so remarkable we’ve put up a sign to let you know’ version. Same for walkie-talkie. Oops, sorry that should be talkie-walkie. And I haven’t quite got to grips with the fact that the French can talk about a dead person as a défunt and keep a straight face.
My favourite word for a long time has been saperlipopette ! But now I may have a new one. I came across it in an article in Le Monde which talked about a report claiming that breast cancer was caused by sexual frustration. They quite rightly described it as abracadabrant (bizarre, ludicrous). What a fabulous word! Now I just need to find a way to use it.
I’ve been filling my time with more French. More pronunciation practice and more vocabulary learning. It’s really depressing how many really simple words I don’t know. I can translate papers about astrophysics, but when it comes to kitchen implements, I’m at a loss 😦
Well, not entirely. At least today I went to my weekly session with P to practise my spoken French. I can claim it’s work-related, as it’s part of my long-term goal to be as comfortable speaking French as English. It went well; I think I managed to put together my longest ever sentence!
I also spent part of the day practising basic vocabulary and pronunciation. I really want to get my pronunciation up to scratch right now.