Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A big north wind, Elspeth

(l to r) Cédric, Laurent, Witold shooting an interview today
I have spent the past two days and nights immersed in French (being with the French crew et des autres qui parlent le français). However, after tonight's French midterm exam I wonder how far this two-day immersion has advanced me upon the road to mastering the language!

I laughed so much after the exam that I had to go 'faire pipi' (a.k.a. wee wee). Even driving home after the exam, I was literally collapsing on the steering wheel in fits of mirth, remembering the bizarre things we (the students) had discussed after the exam ... i.e. the incorrect things we had written on our papers.

The first part of the exam was a written exercise - we had to write a letter to a friend 'thanking her for letting you stay at her house during your holidays, talking about your journey', etc etc etc. Ironically, just before the exam, I was flicking through the vocab at the back of the French text and saw "Gros Bisous" (lots of love/a big kiss) - which goes at the end of a letter. So in the exam, I ended my letter with what I thought I remembered it to be. I confidently put: "Gros bises, Elspeth."

Ooops! Feeling after the exam that what I had signed off with was incorrect, I checked the meaning of 'bises' ... to find that it means 'north winds' (according to Babelfish)! But elsewhere it seems to mean 'kisses'.

The second part of the exam was a listening comprehension about a man who went skiing with his aunt and cousin. At some point in the passage the man had a skiing accident and crashed into a tree. One of the questions asked what had caused the accident. The answer was that it was very foggy. However, I heard brouyant (noisy) instead of brouillard (fog) ... so my answer was "he heard a loud noise and crashed into the tree". Some of the other students said he was eating while skiing (even writing this I am cracking up!) They had heard the word "cousine" (cousin) and thought it was cuisine (food). ... i.e. they heard that he was skiing with his 'cuisine' (food).

One other woman heard 'cuisine' and thought it meant cook. So in her version of the story he was skiing with a chef when he crashed!

The other two parts were written comprehension (that was okay) and then speaking (that part was perhaps the best). One thing I know for sure ... our teacher will certainly have a good laugh when marking those papers!

I guess we'll get our results next week.



Blogger Lynn said...

Oh I am laughing too! With tears in my eyes. I do not know French, but your story tells it all so well. Thanks for waking me up this morning with a ton of good laughter. Hugs.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Kikipotamus said...

Thank you for sharing the mirth. I got a good laugh out of this.

12:28 PM  

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