Monday, September 26, 2016

(Mis)adventures of Language

Language lessons are a wonderful preparation to ask questions in the language of your new country, because let's face it, there are questions you will want to ask, like:
  • May I have a glass of red wine?
  • Where is the toilet?
  • What time is the bus to Kirchberg?
  • Do you have this in a size 39?
  • Would you like to go for lunch this week?
  • May I have the bill?
After a semester or two one can totally ask questions to your hearts content!  However, nothing and no-one can prepare you to answer one in response to any of these.... or even to understand the answer!  

For example - If I ask "Do you have this in a size 39?" the reply could be "If you want it in a different colour, then yes." I have apparently mastered the art of a blank stare, and they look at me with such sympathy and switch to English. This horrifies me because I know I won't ever learn like that.

On the weekends, when My Man and I walk the dogs together in the forest, we often cross paths with a lovely elderly gent who is clearly out for his walk too. He always stops and has long chats with both dogs (not us, other than a greeting), and gives them dog treats that seem to always be available.

This morning I was walking Tigger alone, and I happened to bump into him. He greeted me and then said something in French. I was not prepared to be spoken to, and didn't quite get it, I said 'Pardon?' and he repeated himself and I worked out that he was asking where the other dog was. I managed to put together 5 words and he seemed to understand. Then we wished one another a good day, and carried on along our merry ways.

As I walked, I replayed the conversation in my head and I was so annoyed with myself because I realised I could totally say "My other dog is at home. Together, they are too strong for me. This afternoon I walk the other dog."  I could have said all of that (Except for 'strong'...I don't know what that is, but that's easy to do with arm gestures).  The grammar may not have been 100% but it would totally be understandable. Why did I freak out and think I couldn't reply?

It's being unprepared I suppose!  Frustrating, but it will come. Persistence!

Speaking of which, my third semester of French starts on Thursday. Yippeeee! I am so looking forward to it. 

Have a lovely week all you beautiful people.

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