Category Archives: languages

en français

I had my first French class tonight.

Much goodness. For starters, even at my very slow walking speed (I blame short legs … nothing to do with laziness …) it’s a comfortable 20-25 minute walk from home. With time, it should be more like 20 minutes, especially if I do not stop for chocolate. I got a lift home with the friend who’s taking the class with me, but I will aim to walk it next week if the weather is good.

It’s a small group (7 of us) with the usual range of ability. To my delight (and surprise) I am closer to the top than to the bottom of the class. Having read over the textbook, I was ok with understanding written words and with saying them. The hardest part was hearing spoken French.

The highlight of the evening was learning to say J’aime faire du lèche vitrine – which translates, literally, as I like to lick shop windows. There is of course another meaning, but we will not worry about that so much even though it has the Power of Usage. The Power of Funny wins. My friend Ann suggested that this could be a useful phrase to know when the police arrest me. And Fraser said he will not kiss me again until I disinfect my tongue.

That may have been Too Much Information.

My textbook is pretty amazing too. It’s full of little jokes, interesting asides and a 3-way love triangle. Also, at the foot of each page next to the page number is the text of the number – so it says “28 vingt huit” instead of just “28”.

I did, however, manage to say that I like toys when I meant I like games. jeu = game. jouet = toy. jouer = to play.  Between that and the window licking, it could have been a very interesting evening.

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Posted by on February 5, 2008 in french, languages


Another geekdom

Way back, even before I was a boardgame geek, I was a languages geek.

I started learning German when I was 5, visited Germany on my own at 11 (I stayed with the family of my penfriend) and have been back several times since then. In the meantime, I took a year of French, 3 of Latin and 5 of Russian during high school, and I flirted with a couple of terms of Hungarian before I moved to Austria for a year to study. (Main outcome: I have a pronounced Austrian accent when I speak German).

Combine that with itchy, itchy feet (of the I-want-to-travel rather than the I-have-an-annoying-fungal-growth variety) and a stop at the discount bookshop on the way home earlier in the week, and the lure of a “French for travellers” CD was just too much for me.

I had to visit a client in the sticks yesterday – a 45 minute drive there and back – but my journey was enlivened by my new CD and cackles of laughter at the astonishing amount of fun I was having. When I picked my husband up for a lunch date, he didn’t know whether to laugh at me or have me committed.

Next stop? There’s an Italian CD in the same series. Or maybe I will find one that is a language course, rather than a talking phrase book.

Meanwhile, je suis fatiguée. Au revoir!


Posted by on March 29, 2007 in languages, travel