Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Improved French ..

In a comment on yesterday's post, Kikipotamus wondered if spending eight days among French speakers improved my French.

I am eight days better off than I would have been without it. Now, whenever I think in French, I hear a French accent in my head ... and in since the past eight days I've noticed my r's naturally sound different (when speaking French). This is what happens when one becomes immersed in another language, even if just for a few days. It seeps in like water into a sponge and before you know it, you are picking it up - either vocabulary, slang, intonation, pronunciation or all of the above. That's how we learned to speak as babies.

Yesterday driving down the highway I was speaking aloud to myself in French, practising natural, smooth speed of delivery, rather than the sometimes slow, deliberate effort of one learning a language. Suddenly it occurred to me that although I was speaking French, I was doing so with my usual English-speaking intonations.


If a French person says: "Merci!" ... they seem to stress the 'e' and say it all very quickly.

I tend to say: "Merci" with the stress on the 'i' and the 'i' going up in pitch. And I say it slower and more laid back.

This evening we will get the results of our French mid-term exams. I'm looking forward to what I think will be a hilarious class ... as we once again hear about skiing with food, chefs crashing into trees, big north winds and lost sheep.



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