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Saturday, 5 January 2013

'Letters' speak French...


Arriving in Nice  for a summer holiday several years ago, I realised my voice had gone completely. My husband's  French being almost as bad as mine, he rang our  daughter, who is fluent in several languages. 'Your mum's got a sore throat - she  can't speak at all,' he told her. 'What should I say to the chemist?'

 'Yipeeeee....' came the quickfire reply.

Which brings me to my new year's resolution - I'm going to talk less (in English) and learn how to speak fluently in French. Don't get me wrong, I can read French pretty well,  and understand it (if  spoken slowly) but my accent is so bad that when I try to make conversation, the natives always reply in English.

 At senior school in the Midlands, I often talked of my Guernsey roots - my maternal grandmother was born in Brittany, just a few miles across the English Channel. One day the French teacher, who was also my form mistress, hauled me out to the front of the class, and made me read a piece of Gallic prose.

'Marilyn likes to boast about her French ancestry,' the teacher observed tartly, 'but she has the worst accent in the entire  school.  Let that be a lesson to you all.'

Last year I met a Guernsey ex-pat on line who is married to a Frenchman and now lives in a the Loire Valley.    We've already corresponded  and I'm hoping soon we can  chat on the phone - in French, of course. At least it will spare my blushes, and after a few months, you never know, she might even understand what I'm saying...

It's time now for my  second  new year's resolution - to write at least 1,000 words every day. In English, of course!


 

6 comments:

Suzie Tullett said...

I love France and intend to learn French this year, too. Perhaps we can spur each other on?! I also intend on having a minimum daily word count - wonder if I'll achieve either of these goals? x

Guernsey Girl said...

That's a brilliant idea, Suzie - we can spur each on - on both counts!

Linda Mitchelmore said...

My friend Rosy posted on FB only yesterday that she had a French dictionary to give away. So I put my hand up - and now it's mine. Great minds, Marilyn, obviously think alike. We have friends in Brittany we visit every year and they live in a hamlet where the locals speak Breton if they don't want my friends to understand what they're saying....have I got enough years left to learn Breton???

Guernsey Girl said...

My grandparents used to talk in Guernsey French when they didn't want me to understand what they were saying - I think we do have a lot in common, Linda!!

Nikki-ann said...

Maybe I should do the same with Welsh! I've lived in Wales all my live and my ancestry is roughly 50% or more Welsh... Yet, despite having a GCSE in it, I can't actually speak it fluently!

Guernsey Girl said...

Thanks, Nikki-ann, that makes me feel a lot better! Lovely to hear from you.