Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We are ze people in your neighborhood

It's time to think about travel. I am heading off to France in January and need to start making plans. This will be about my fifth time to the pastures of pastry and to date have only made petite attempts at any language learning. I can navigate enough French words to eat, drink and shop in fact I probably have a collection of at least 10 French words that revolve around my favourite wine, food and basic greetings. My usual approach is to sit around and wait until one of my 10 words comes up and then I say 'oui sil vous plait' and I'm sorted. I've tried listening to the french language CDs in the car but they are usually circa 1980 and the voice overs sound just a little bit 'Allo Allo' for me. I don't think it's been really helpful. When I travel I can't imagine any situation where the opportunity would arise where I would ask 'how do I get to the camping ground?' or when I'm visiting the local market where the women at the cheese counter would sooner stab me in the eye with an artichoke before letting me in, and all I can say is 'I like dancing'.

I'm considering private tuition only because I've tried the group classes and for some reason they believe that when you walk through the door you have reverted to a toddler and Sesame Street learning skills are the way to go. I actually attended a language course where the teacher asked everyone in the room to form a circle while he asked us to throw an Elmo toy to each other in order to learn how to count. This happens so often in Paris. I want to be able to string a sentence together with some of my 10 words and not have to stumble for the point and smile fallback position. I need to know how to hurl good french aussie abuse at a rip off taxi driver and be able to have a conversation with the man who brings his dachshunds into the restaurant to sit at the same table every night. That's life and language. I can find my own way to the train station.


  1. O-oh, who are the people in your neighbourhood?
    In your neighbourhood.
    In your neigh-bour-ho-od?
    Who are the people in your neighbourhood?
    The people that you meet each day.
    (thanks Sesame Street)

    Get some newer language cd's You know how to ask where the toilets are, right?

  2. Hmm I'm going in September and have downloaded a bunch of BBC podcasts on conversational French. Have I opened a single one . .no. I have not. I'm relying heavily on hand gestures and charm. I'm screwed.

  3. I suppose you have to learn to crawl before you run, thus the Elmo toy.

    I found some pretty good (free) podcasts on the net for free when I wanted to improve my Bahasa Indonesia. They were great. You might have to check a few out before you find one that suits you. Check out Canadian sites. Learning French is big over there.

  4. Firstly, I'm jealous. France and all that.

    Secondly, I rely on smiling and pointing here in Australia, my native country, let alone contemplating trying to learn a second language, so you've impressed me already :)