Je Veux Apprendre le Francais
I'm throwing down the gauntlet and forcing myself to expand my brain. My puny little brain that has a hard time remembering where the car keys are. Frightening. But I want to try something new. I learned Spanish in high school and college, and I was pretty decent at it. Of course I've lost most of it from not using the language. Kinda important to use a language once you learn it.

Anyhoo, we are T-minus 13 months until our trip across the pond. David and I are thinking of a quick trip to Scotland and a jaunt to Paris during our week in London. Technically, we don't need to learn French for a day trip to Paris, but wouldn't it be fun? Wouldn't it be so extremely cool to make an attempt at the language? If your answer is "yes" then read on.

I'm starting with an audio version of French for Dummies while I look at my options. Ideally, I would find a French class through our school district as part of their adult education curriculum. If I can't find that, I'll contact the French teacher at David's school and see what she suggests.

I will confess that when David and I first tossed around the idea of a trip to Paris, I was hesitant. I was basing my opinions on rumors that the French are mean and haughty and especially rude to Americans. Awfully rude of me to judge them before meeting them, don't you think? People are people, period. And I don't ever want my children to overhear me say anything negative about a culture or country before I've actually met them or set foot there. So I've changed my thinking and will do my best to acquire a basic level of the language, go there with an open mind, and soak it in.

Please know this is incredibly huge for me. Incredibly. I do not sign up for things that are, in reality, hard work. I don't like going to places (like a language class) where I have to put myself out there and admit to being confused 99.9% of the time. I'm sure this will happen. A lot.

Wish me luck.


Julie said...

Bon Chance! (I think that's right).

hotflawedmama said...

Good luck. I will teach you the 4 words/phrases I know in July. ;)

Bridget said...

hmmmmm....I'm seeing a little bit of your son in you! :)

cathy said...

ahhhh bridget. there is a difference between my shyness and his prefectionism. though they both fear similar things, just for different reasons. (i'm trying to defend myself but i think i'm just digging the hole deeper.)

K said...

Très bien!! French is a beautiful language and I think you will enjoy learning the basics. I can almost guarantee that you will have no problems with French people when you travel there. I studied in Paris for a semester in college and we recently went back for five days as a family, I have not had one bad experience. The most important thing I noticed: If you try (even terribly!) to say please (s'il vous plait) and thank you (merci) they will appreciate the attempt and often come back to you in English. I found that French people love their language and culture and any legitimate attempt by foreigners to use/learn are well received. Have a fabulous time...I can't wait to go back myself!

Old Men Reflect said...

You will find the French extremely friendly if you try to use their language and not be super aggresive.

Other than that they surrender way too easy, I find Paris very nice.

Only there on business, merci etc. went a long way.

rebekah said...

I would LOVE to go to Paris and Scotland. Sounds like a dream trip to me, but honestly I think you'll want more than a week. You'll need 4-5 days in London alone, right, and then 1-2 in Paris and 2-3 in Scotland, including travel time. Are you going to take the chunnel?

Ou est le salle-de-bain?

jayme said...

J'aime Paris! Il est l'une des plus belles villes dans tout le monde. Laissez les bons temps rouller!

J'ai étudié le français pendant quatre ans en école secondaire et je me souviens très peu. Je peux dire des choses ridicules comme "de temps en temps, je veux chanter", et "je vais a la plage parce que le guignol est chouette". Mais ces choses ne sont pas très utiles.

Seriously, though, I really love Paris. I think Parisians are "unfriendly" in the same way New Yorkers are "unfriendly" (which is to say that they're not, but they also don't have time to be bothered by cluelessness.) If you know what you want and at least make an attempt to speak the language, you'll be fine.

I will note that I got one of two reactions when I attempted to speak French in Paris: 1. They responded in English, or 2. They started speaking really really fast in French, and I could decipher about every third word. It was very interesting to go from France, where we were just expected to speak the language, to Ethiopia the next day, where we were met with shock and praise every time we even attempted Amharic.

I could go on and on about how much I adore Paris, and how I think it would be an amazing destination for kids. Really, it's spectacular. Taxis are a complete rip-off, but the metro is incredible and really easy to navigate. We also walked a whole lot, which I think is the best way to see Paris.

I'm so super excited for you guys! This certainly sounds like the trip of a lifetime! And if you want someone to practice French with, I'm super rusty, (and have a bad tendency to confuse French and Spanish) but 'd really love to brush up...

Oh, and if you haven't already seen it, go rent Paris J'taime. It's the most beautiful love letter to the city!

krisVS said...

I agree with all the comments about Paris being an absolutely beautiful city, and the people appreciating even the most feeble attempts at the language. The design of the city and the buildings are just stunning. We did not have one bad experience with people there. It is helpful to know their cultural expectations about sitting vs standing in a restaurant, when to drink, when to eat, etc just to fit in. Wear dark, simple clothing and scarves! You'll be the first person in a restaurant for dinner if you go anytime before 7:30-8:00.

I could go on and on....it's one of our favorite places and we're considering going back soon. Try to schedule more than 1 day.