Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ma timonerie française

Good times in my French class ce soir - one of our exercises was to look at a comic strip about a couple out at a restaurant: there is a problem with the woman's dish - instead of a cooked snail (yummy) there is a live slug (icky!). Our task was to enact our own version of this story.

Our class was divided into three groups and I must say that my group was the best. Our group, two other woman and myself, were not content to merely borrow phrases and concepts from our lesson book, we did some serious improv - I played the man and I opened with "bon anniversarie, je t'aime! And the woman playing ma femme ordered salad from the other woman in our group, who played the waiter. The man (me) ordered three bottles of the Beaujolais and then we saw the slug on the plate de ma femme. "Quel horreur! C'est un scandal! I'm never coming back to this restaurant again!"

And then our waiter offered us a refund.

And scene.

Not bad considering none of us is exactly fluent in French and we had to do free-form dialog all in French. It was loads of fun. Our teacher declared us les trois actrices.

Speaking of speaking French and fun, the titular story in the David Sedaris collection "Me Talk Pretty One Day" is available online. I sent the link to my French teacher and she seemed to like it. Luckily my French teacher isn't a terror like Sedaris's teacher. In fact my French teacher is a heroine. Which is much better for learning French, although not quite as funny. An excerpt from Sedaris:
Over time it became impossible to believe that any of us would ever improve. Fall arrived and it rained every day, meaning we would now be scolded for the water dripping from our coats and umbrellas. It was mid-October when the teacher singled me out, saying, “Every day spent with you is like having a cesarean section.” And it struck me that, for the first time since arriving in France, I could understand every word that someone was saying.

Understanding doesn’t mean that you can suddenly speak the language. Far from it. It’s a small step, nothing more, yet its rewards are intoxicating and deceptive. The teacher continued her diatribe and I settled back, bathing in the subtle beauty of each new curse and insult.

“You exhaust me with your foolishness and reward my efforts with nothing but pain, do you understand me?"

The world opened up, and it was with great joy that I responded, “I know the thing that you speak exact now. Talk me more, you, plus, please, plus.”

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