May 4, 2012 § 4 Comments
OK, seriously, it’s a beautiful language and all but at 35 years of age I do not know if I am really up for the full challenge of trying to conquer it. Yes, I’m speaking about French.
I wish that I could substitute one language for another or better yet, trade one in for use when another one is not really needed. For example, I have not spoken one word of Swedish the whole time that I’ve been here. Not one word of Norwegian either for that matter. So why can’t I just trade in my Scandinavian languages to get French? Two for one. Come on!!!
It’s sooo frustrating. I had forgotten just how frustrating it can be to be at that point in language acquisition where you understand WAY more than you can say. My whole insides get all knotted up when someone has just said something to me that I don’t quite agree with or that I’d like to flat out refute and I’m stuck there looking like a deer caught in headlights because I know that if I open my mouth to speak it will not only come out all wrong (GRAMMAR ERRORS 4,444 to 5,444) but that I’ll also sound like a two year old.
This only reinforces a thought that I’ve carried with me since a young age: Everyone should, at one time in their lives (preferably soon than later) be put in a foreign culture and be made to live there for at least a year. Everyone should know what it feels like to go through the motions of acquiring a second language and being a “guest” in a new country. Perhaps people would have more patience when speaking to someone who is trying their hardest to be understood. And hopefully, they would stop assuming that that person’s lack of vocabulary or grammar skills (in their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th language) does not mean that they know any less than you. They just cannot voice their opinion in the manner that they are accustomed to. In fact, there’s a good chance that they not only know a lot about what you’re talking about but that they know even more than you think, given the fact that they might also have an additional DIFFERENT perspective to draw from, due to their background. There! Get that through your thick head!
Wow!! Okay…moving on…
So now, I’ve sadly come to realize that I MUST hit the books in order to improve my language skills. I cannot solely count on my casual conversations with others to help me progress at the speed in which I need to progress to begin to lead an even more fulfilling life here in France. Damn it, and I thought that I could take the easy way out!!! Anyhow, I do consider myself rather lucky to have people around me that do take the time to try to understand the mess that passes out of my brain into the French speaking world. Your patience is much appreciated, especially at a time like this, when I feel my most vulnerable.
(trying to find the love and light after my little rant…)