No. 111: Learning to Laugh at Myself
I go through extreme ups and extreme downs when it comes to learning French. Some weeks I feel very confident and have great ego-boosting moments when I faire les courses, give proper directions to lost French tourists, or can have a solid conversation with my gardienne. But there are a lot of weeks, when I feel like a toddler trapped in a grown woman’s body just trying to be understood.
Learning French has been one of my biggest stumbling blocks over the last 5 years. I’ve studied hard and taken many classes. I listen to French on my iPod everyday. I keep journals of new vocabulary. I do lots of grammar worksheets. I’m fine on paper when I read and write, and I’m fine on understanding spoken French. But often when I speak, I completely freeze. My mouth dries up, my tongue gets tied, and my brain seems to go on holiday. It is a pattern I can’t seem to break.
Spoken French is the monkey on my back.
I just wish he would climb off and head back to the tropics!
2014 has to be the year that I finally stick to my resolution to stop being afraid of making mistakes and learn to laugh at myself.
Having been trying to make that resolution my mantra for the last 2 weeks, it was quite fortuitous that this (from my new favorite online teacher, Géraldine of Comme une Française TV ) showed up today, just as I was beating myself up about a rough exchange with Air France over the telephone.
Géraldine is great at making me realize I am not alone in my foibles and always encourages her students to shrug it off, chuckle at yourself, and keep on trying.
Give her newest video a lookie-loo and smile!
Five (Very) Embarrassing Mistakes from Comme une Française TV
- Je te baise ≠ I give/send you a kiss; it does mean: I (want to) f*ck you. It’s much better to say: je t’embrasse.
- Je suis excité(e) ≠ I’m excited for/to; it does mean: I am aroused. It’s better to say: J’ai hâte de… or je suis impatient al’idée de…(I’m looking forward to…)
- Une amie m’a introduit ≠ a friend introduced me to; It does mean: A friend inserted themselves in me. Better to say: Une amie m’a parlé de …
- Des préservatifs ≠ preservative; it does mean: condoms. Don’t ask your mother-in-law if there are préservatifs in her jam, better to say conservateurs.
- Je suis chaud ≠ I’m hot (temperature-wise); it does mean: I’m horny/I’m hot (for you) or very motivated. Remember to use: J’ai chaud instead.
Comme une Française: Like a French (woman), as in speak like a French woman; also a brilliant website to learn very practical French taught by a thoughtful but silly française.
gardienne: caretaker, the person (often a Portuguese woman) who watches over your apartment building
faire les courses: do the shopping, run errands