28 May 2010

If Only I Was Hooked on Phonetiques

Well, I'm happy to announce that I survived my very first continuing education course en français!!  That's right!  I spent 6 hours in a classroom listing to a rehab doc talk about spasticity.  The course is called

Fragilité, Handicap, Réadaptation
et
Restauration Neurologique du Mouvement

and today was the first day of six.  After suffering through an hour on botox, my Australian friend and I decided to hit the road instead of sticking around for another hour or so on neurosurgical techniques, since neither of us are licensed to take a scalpel to another human being in our respective countries.


I understood a good 80-85% of what was said, which is HUGE!!  Considering this an MD with a PhD who speaks pretty fast and in French. The whole point of going was to learn some OT terminology and I found this setting to be really conducive for my learning style.  While it wasn't interactive (at least not today anyway), most of my new vocab was repeated throughout the day.  Which meant repetitive exposure . . . so I think a lot of it stuck (more than if I was just to look the words up in a dictionary).

The day did have it's wow-Deb.-you're-really-dumb moments (but it wouldn't be my life without them!) such as when a slide popped up with a very long definition of spasticity from 1980 by some guy named Lance.  As I read the definition, I was feeling proud of myself for the ease at which I understood it.  As I began scribbling it down on my paper (so I could go back and look up a few of the words of course) it occurred to me . . . the presenter had left the quote as it had been originally written: in English!

Other than asking one of the event organizers if he has a professor instead of if he is a professor, I managed to make it through the course without any major language errors.

That is, until we were on our way home.

Trying to get from the bus to a train station, rather than wander for hours, I asked a very nice older lady where I could find the station.  "THE WHAT?!?!" She asked very surprisingly.  "The station."  She looked at me like I was nuts (yeah, I get that a lot).  "Choisy-le-Roi station."  That still didn't work.  I was starting to think man lady, what don't you understand about 'where is the train station?' I know it's around here somewhere . . . DO YOU EVEN SPEAK FRENCH?!?!  I tried one more time.  "The TRAIN.  Where can I find the train?" "OH!!! THE TRAIN!!  It's that way, cross over the street, keep going straight and it's right there."

As we walked away, my friend softly said "Deb. I think I know what the problem was." "What problem??" "It's gare with an aah" (like "Open you mouth and say aah") not Ah (as it air).  So instead of asking her for the gare (the station) you were asking her from the guerre (the war)!!

2 comments:

AngelaMichelle said...

Ha! I had a few of those moments in China. I remember John once getting frustrated with a persistent vendor who wouldn't take no for an answer. John turned on him & asked (in Chinese): "Don't you understand Chinese??"

AngelaMichelle said...

Ha! I had a few of those moments in China. I remember John once getting frustrated with a persistent vendor who wouldn't take no for an answer. John turned on him & asked (in Chinese): "Don't you understand Chinese??"