11 November 2009

Sometimes I Wish I was More Inhibited

They tell me that when learning a new language it is vital to be able to laugh at one's self.  Those of you who read this blog on a more regular basis are familiar with the frequency at which I say and do things that result in quite a bit of said laughter.  So here goes.  Enjoy.

Last Thursday was our first day back to classes after the 10 day vacances that we had for Toussaint (All Saints Day, 1 November).  Since my morning prof is on maternity leave, my afternoon prof is covering her afternoon classes, so we have now merged completely with the other débutante class for the whole day.  Their afternoon prof is the same man we have for phonetiques each Monday.  A. is a good prof, but is very different from SL--our former afternoon prof.  So getting used to his laidback style took a few minutes.

We've been working on learning adjectives which come in masculine and feminine, singular and plural (and there are some masculine adjectives that end with a vowel sound, so if they preceed a word that starts with a vowel there is a different masculine form of the adjective that is to be used . . . it's a bit confusing).  So A. begins the class: Vous me dites des adjectifs (Give me some adjectives).  Someone says beau.  He asks the student to use it in a sentance: J'ai un beau velo (I have a beautiful bike).  Un autre?  He looks at me.  Gentil (kind) I say.  Dans une phrase? (In a sentance?)  Vous êtes gentil (You [formal] are kind).

He gasps, puts his hand in the shape of a telephone and procedes to pretend to call his wife . . . informing her that he has a student that thinks he is gentil.  Oh the scandal!  Apparently, while I used the correct word, culturally a student would never EVER say such a thing to a professor, especailly a female student to a male prof.  OY.  Mais, c'est la vie.

A few minutes later I manage to make a fool of myself again when I used mes cheveaux (my horses) instead of mes cheveux (my hair).  Oh, the joys of language learning!

The prof then decided to further use me as the example.  At the top of an over head he wrote: Les Characteristiques de le Future Mari de Deborah (Characteristics of Deborah's Future Husband).  He made us all give two pages worth of adjectives . . . then for my homework he told me I had to go into Paris and find myself a husband (there is a point to all of this . . . just keep reading). So that evening, we were having a dinner party for a student who was leaving for Africa.  One of my friends shared my adjectives homework assignment with those sitting around us.  One of the guys who lives here is a French Architectural student at a local university.  So he said, "Hmmm, what's on the list??" I replied, "Tu est trop jaune pour moi." (You are too yellow for me)  Well, at least now I know the difference between young and yellow (jeune and jaune)!!

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