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Lost in Translation: The Nitty Gritty of Learning French

Here are some reflections after months of navigating the French language, for those who are considering the same. Alban Martel

As far as languages go, French has a lot of cachet. Commonly regarded as one of the most beautiful languages in the world, if you ever want to sound sophisticated all you need to do is pull out a “Frenchism” (like cachet, for example) to impress people.

Here are some reflections after months of navigating the French language, for those who are considering the same.Kevin Harber/Kaci Baum

It seems that everyone wishes they spoke French- but does anyone ever really learn it? Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 4 Comments »

Zut Alors! How To Speak French Like A Parisian

Lost In Cheeseland

On arriving in Paris, No.1 on the lengthy to-do list (in between museum visiting and restaurant testing, bien sûr) is deciphering the elision-liaison-silent-letter-filled waves of French flying from left, right and center.
Before setting foot (or even a single toe) on Parisian soil, I had already been vigorously drilled with irregular verbs and I’d skimmed the pages of iconic authors like Sartre. Bref, I was quietly confident that my carefully acquired knowledge would serve me well in my quest to be truly Parisienne. This confidence has since been shaken AND stirred more times than I can remember.

Erica Berman

Just hours into my Parisian experience, my linguistic talents would hurtle against their first obstacle of the viticultural kind. As I tried in vain to order red wine, I never imagined that my inability to distinguish the ‘u’ and the ‘ou’ in rouge would have such drastic consequences…

Following two years of linguistic battering, here’s my advice:
1.)    Take risks. You’ll make mistakes (but so do the French). Living in Paris, you’ll learn to laugh at yourself. Arriving directly from a year in Spain, I’d happily use my own invented French-ised version of the Spanish verb ‘pisar’ (to trample) when I accidently stood on people. That is before I cottoned on the fact that ‘pisser’ had a very different (and far more obvious) meaning in French.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 8 Comments »