Archive for February, 2010

One thing I have learnt this week (apart from that it most definitely is possible to eat 10 carrés of Monoprix white chocolate in less than 20 minutes) is that faking it might just be the way forward. Minds out of the gutter please, not that kind of faking it!

In language learning my strengths lie within the ‘receiving information’ side of the language; reading and listening. My writing isn’t even especially bad it is just speaking which is my major downfall. I’ve commented before in this blog how the reason is that I don’t feel confident enough and that I must get confident blah blah etc etc. However this week I have noticed some things that just make everything about my linguistic weaknesses disappear. I don’t have to HAVE confidence… I can fake it!

I’ve been doing a lot of listening and observing this week, mainly of non-native French speakers (just like me) trying to speak the language, and to just listen I could be fooled that they are much more amazing than me at the language, but if I REALLY listen I realise that’s not necessarily the case. Miss-conjugations, difficulties finding verbs, talking around the subject when nouns are forgotten and tense problems… that’s what I do!

The thing that separates me from these people (in my mind of course) is that I don’t fake the linguistic capability to mask my uncertainty – I uhm and ah until I find the exact way I want to say it or I rush in like a TGV and blabber everything and anything making it all muddled.

I think that if I really think about it and I take into consideration the things that these people do, adding simple phrases “bon alors” when I lose my TGV of thought, I could convince myself that I am in fact as great at French as I perceive the other foreign francophones!

Also, tonight, whilst l was sat in bed trying to get my sleep on (slight Cassidy reference there), I was thinking through some verbs and conjugations (I’m a language student, we’re allowed to do things like this for fun) and I came to the verb savoir (to know) and I started to think it through, I changed the regular first and second person singular forms of the verb from having an ‘is’ ending (sais) to an ‘it’ ending (sait) and felt uneasy I couldn’t even imagine trying to say “je sait” – just typing it makes me feel like I know nothing.

I know that’s a little trivial thing that may only interest my mind but along with the fact I catch myself thinking and mumbling to myself in French without even realising it I feel perhaps this is all a sign that I’m finally getting to grips with the language and that perhaps if I take heed of all that I have written above I’ll soon start to feel like I’m mastering the great French language!


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Last night I had a pounding and stabbing earache in my right ear, this morning I was bleeding from said ear; my online self-diagnosis told me that either I was  going to die due to brain complications or I had an ear infection.

I rang into my school to tell them I wouldn’t be in because I was ill and the secretary said, more than once, “entendu”  which literally means ‘heard’ but put into context is ‘understood’. I wanted to make many a joke – “of course you heard, you’re not the one bleeding from your ears” however my French isn’t strong enough to be funny and I figured I’d get lost in translation somewhere and sound like my potential ear infection was in fact brain complications.

A quick trip to my doctor confirmed the latter, an ear infection. He prescribed me 5 (yes 5!!!) boxes of tablets and I went on my merry, partially-hearing way. Now, sat in my bed, feeling sorry for myself, surrounded by a wonderful array of boxes sporting long and unpronounceable names, and trying hard to understand Bones on the television without cranking the volume up, I got to thinking about what it would be like if I became deaf.

What would sudden deafness do to me? Well firstly I’d be forced to learn a new language, not out of want but out of necessity. I can spell my name in sign language but I’m not sure that would suffice. Not only would I be forced to learn the language but so would many people around me, all of my friends and family. It would throw a spanner in the works of my life plans; how could I continue to learn French without the ability to listen? I’d no longer be able to switch the radio on to hear the top 40, go to a club to dance to the top tunes or listen to my beloved iPod shuffle on the way to work.

I know that sounds very materialistic of me but hey, this is a material world. Of course there are technologies nowadays to aid those who have lost, or indeed never had, their hearing abilities. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’m very thankful that I still have my hearing.

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