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Parlez Vous Francais?

Mais Oui!  Kinda.

Speaking French has been one of my goals since I was five. I took French in high school and a few quarters in college. Unfortunately my path towards international sophisticate pretty much stalled at that point. However, speaking French is still on my goal list. And expanding my language skills is still possible, vs say any Olympic goals that are past/(not really ever) attainable.

I can (for the most part) converse in present tense French. OK, I can exchange pleasantries, get directions and food.  The very nice monsieur à la fromagerie (cheese shop) told me “Ah! You speak French, that’s nice” (in French), or maybe he just wanted me to stop trampling the delicate nuances.  He seemed très genuine.  It had been years since I had uttered more than a phrase such as ‘Ma petit chou’  to my petites (my little cabbage–a term of endearment). I’ll accept his ‘atta Madame’, and purchase 100 grams of brie. Merci beaucoups.

As you may glean, my accent? Not so much. Yet. My ‘R’s prefer to remain static, and only roll with a ‘Tony the Tiger’ grrr to start them off. (I remain hopeful, and have been having fun refreshing with Duolingo.) But speaking (any) French makes me happy. And I think it is important for your kids to see you try something, struggle and try again.

I was told by a Portuguese taxi driver that I speak French like a Finn. Not sure how to interpret that statement (pun intended), and but I am definitely going with “I sound European!”  La/Le Woo Hoo!  I can muster a fairly effective Franglais option, supplemented with hand signs, a shoulder shrug, and a smile.  I have a loooong way to go to do justice to le français.  Maybe I should take this off the bookshelf (it is quite cute), put it in my bag and resume studying.

Vintage French to English Verb Conjugation Guide.  A two-sided ‘dial a verb and tense’.  Parlez Vous Anglais?

Before there was Google translate . . .    Verbeslanguage chart Conjugaison

Watch out google translateJog?St OuenA goal realized, as I was lucky enough to purchase this shopping at a Paris flea market.  And, as you can see from previous posts, I do enjoy a good vintage school supply. Double bonus.

Merci beaucoups to my high school French teacher, Madame Fry, who managed to drill in the basics in that I have somehow retained. I always enjoyed the ‘plus-que-parfait‘.  Examples:

The French past perfect, or pluperfect, is used to indicate an action in the past that occurred before another action in the past. The latter can be either mentioned in the same sentence or implied.
Il n’avait pas mangé (avant de faire ses devoirs).
He hadn’t eaten (before doing his homework).

J’ai fait du shopping ce matin ; j’avais déjà fait la lessive.
I went shopping this morning; I had already done the laundry.

Why do I like a grammatical term? Because it’s fun to say ‘Ploos-ka-Parfait’!  That rolls off my tongue. Zee parfait is too complicated for me to recall how to use at this time. (Interestingly, the definition is from about.com, and the examples seem so perfectly suburban mom.)

Try it–Parfait! Can’t help but smile.

Adieu mes amis.

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