Funmi Ade

2 years ago · 1 min. reading time · ~10 ·

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Parlez -Vous Francaise?

Parlez -Vous Francaise?


On the Back Foot

Its amusing to be in this position, actually.  On the back foot.  English is so widely spoken, you can almost feel its entitlement, to travel to foreign countries and communicate in English.  Almost flustered, irritated when there's a sea of non- English speaking people around.  Its as if you are doing a special favour when a non- English speaking foreigner, asks for direction, in UK and you s..l..o..w..l..y explain, with gesticulations and excessive enunciation.

Parlez -Vous Francaise
How odd then, when you want to put your learning to use in foreign countries, as I did when I visited overwhelmingly French speaking ones.  Funnily my 3 visits to France, I made no attempt to speak French.  At that point I hadn't decided to self - teach myself French, for work, in international development.  So along with those I was with, when we needed directions in Paris, were stuck, as person after person reeled off directions in French; managing between us, to grasp just enough from our school day French, to find our way to the underground station.

The Fun of Learning 3
I have often written about the joy of learning new things for pleasure, or change of direction, into a down sized, more fun earning opportunity.  Opting to speak French instead of English, while in Senegal and Morocco, I quickly learnt how those struggling with English must feel.  Muddling my conjugations, forgetting my past and future tenses and vocabulary, then a few seconds or minutes, remembering.  I thought I wish someone could let me know in English, how I sound in French, complete with what must be 'funny accent.'   Good thing is though, I can correct myself for next time.

Immersion the Key to Language Learning
Another great thing, is the immersion learning that comes with hearing a new language, all around.  The way its spoken colloquially, the barrage of signage, everywhere in French, an easy way to learn new vocabulary and remember theoretical teaching, coming from different context and situations.  Bien arrive, at hotel; ca fait; when done at restaurants and many such.

All in all, as I keep saying no learning is ever wasted, or unuseful and I continue to explore and enjoy opportunities for personal growth and development in non - formal, easy format environments.

#French #Foreigner #culture #international #communication #learning #work
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Funmi Ade

2 years ago #4

These days learning another language is really easy and non threatening. So perhaps no need to delegate....!

John Rylance

2 years ago #3

I enjoyed reading your piece. I regret never having learnt to communicate in a second language.  My wife says it's because like all men I have difficulty multi-tasking. In this case thinking in one language and speaking in another.  I say I don't multi-task I delegate. Therefore I get her to do the communicating in another language. 

Pascal Derrien

2 years ago #2

Parfait 😉

Ali Anani

2 years ago #1

Funmi Ade You take me back to the seventies when I decided to study French language at the Voltaire Institute in Kuwait. I studied French for three years and did well. When I was in France, Algiers and other countries where French is the main language I could see the fun in trying to make myself understood. But what I realized later is that I France just by attempting to ask in French few people volunteered to answer in English. They appreciated that I was learning the language. One time I wanted to order a meal and I failed to express myself I drew chicken. Drawing is a global language. I therefor immensely enjoyed your post. Mind you that 80% of published materials on the internet are in English.

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