I studied and loved French for many years in school. I got pretty good at reading it, even aloud, but to converse with someone was always beyond my comfort level. Years ago when Husband and I were at Terre des Hommes in Montréal, we enjoyed a ride in a little cart pulled by a strong young man on a bicycle. I tried to ask him if our little jaunt was free and I think I might have asked him if he had stolen the bicycle. He was very gracious in his correction of my error.
So my audible French is limited to reading aloud, preferably to non-French speakers.
And there are some words that I especially enjoy saying...
grenouille (or any "gr..." word, really)
Montréal (the way Montrealers say it . . . Ma'real)
Connecting those words into any reasonable semblance of conversation is not only beyond my comfort level but at this point far far beyond my level of capability as well.
My father was in Brussels in World War II, always wanted to get into France, but never did, I gather. By the time any war stories would have been sensible to me he was dead so what daddy did during the war is a little sketchy. I do recall his speaking French with what sounded like a very authentic accent, though, and when I was first exposed to the study of the language I aspired to sound the way he had. I remember my high school French teacher telling me that when she went to France the muscles of her face hurt for a week from the unaccustomed exercise.
Several years ago I met a young French exchange student who was staying with friends. I felt very shy about speaking her language to her, but it seemed only fair . . . after all, here she was having to speak American all the time! And O Joy! she told her hosts later that I had a very good accent.
It remains one of my proudest moments.
I like to think that Dad would have been pleased.
Another WTF moment at the 7MSN
12 hours ago