Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Language learning mission: francais revisited

Source: Itchy Feet
In August of last year I declared my intentions to learn some French. Over the last almost year I've realized I know a lot more French than I realize. But I'm not about to get cocky because if I'm honest my French ability is still pretty crap. Though I was pretty proud of myself the other day for learning the phrase, "excuse me, do you speak German?" (Excusez-moi, parlez-vous allemand?) To me that's a pretty important phrase to know. I've also recently learned, "Did your mommy dress you like that?" (C'est ta maman quit'a fringué/fringuée comme ça?) and "Your fly is open." (Ta braguette est ouverte.) Yup, all super useful phrases I think. Sure they're kind of situation specific but you never know when you're going to need to inform someone when their fly is open.

John recently passed his A2 French test and has started working on B1. YAY! I on the other hand...have mastered the ability to cobble basic sentences together that may or may not make sense. He worked super hard at it at his A2. I know he would probably disagree with me. But this is my blog so I say he worked really hard and there isn't anything he can do about it. There was some bureaucratic nonsense surrounding his A2 but rather than being discouraged his frustration acted as a pretty impressive motivator. No one works harder to prove a point than Johnathan. He's been doing some tutoring outside of class and has been trying harder to actually speak French in every day situations. Even if it's just to me.  Which most of the time I understand. Go me! The problem? I reply in German.

Yeah...that's super helpful as I'm sure you all know.

I can code switch with the best of them. But my default code setting is German so when I should be saying "oui" I saw "ja." When I should be saying "merci" I say "danke." When I should be saying, "avoir une araignée au plafond"*....I just stare blankly at John until he tells me what he just said and I just say "bescheuert." So as you can see...my French isn't coming along quite as easily as Johnathan's is. I never really took French in school which is contrary to what pretty much everyone believes about Canadians. I took very limited French so I don't even have that much French to try and pull out of the deepest darkest corners of my brain.

This is not to say my French is totally hopeless. Like I said I can cobble together some pretty basic stuff. I can understand simple stuff but I will inevitably reply to you in German because my brain goes, "okay Tatiana, let's speak foreign now!" And foreign to me is German. I'm slowly but surely able to understand. Which was kind of my short term goal on this whole learn French adventure. The ability to have a basic understanding. Now I don't by any means understand everything, I still can't really respond in French and more than anything I'm learning some phrases by heart...some useful like, "I have a small questions" (we use this at work a lot) and some that are really situation specific like, "That asshole gave me crabs." (Cet enfoiré m'a refilé des morpions.)

But I'm getting there.

Although...it appears Jam Buster speaks impeccable French.


* to be not quite right in the head, or directly translated "have a spider hanging from the roof of your skull."

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