Learning French – the final Exams.


In two previous posts I’ve written about the challenges of learning French. Of course, in a new language you’re bound to make some mistakes. It’s all part of the territory of looking like a fool while trying desperately to blend in and hold your own. As of Friday morning, both Scotty and I had finished our final exams. Class continues for another two weeks, so I’m not really sure how that works, but I’m imagining attendance with be down.

While walking to the farmer’s market on Saturday I came across this:

A candy shop with a tongue-in-cheek name. I had to appreciate those red marks – I’m sure used to seeing them on my recent assignments and exams. It’s good to know that even the French make mistakes! David Lebovitz, in his book, The Sweet Life in Paris talks about the difficulties of learning a language with 16 tenses and contends that even the French are constantly getting it all wrong. I’ll try to remember all these things when I get my four-part exam back this week and see more red than white.

But I do have to share with you a funny story. Scotty is much better at the grammar of French than I am. I tend to be a bit more bold about speaking the language. The combination of the two of us would be perfect but I hate grammar and Scotty gets shy about speaking. So while most of my mistakes are undoubtedly on the written part of the exam, Scotty make a pretty hilarious oops during his oral exam. He and a fellow classmate were given a theoretical situation and needed to build a discussion around it. The situation is as follows: Scotty is interviewing a job applicant for a position at the school he works at. Fair enough – seeing as Scotty’s been working on applications for the past four months, this was fitting. The guy who was playing the role of interviewee, asked if he would have time, given the teaching load, to prepare lectures. Scotty came up with the slightly bizarre answer that it would be no problem because he was replacing a professor who was “morte”, meaning he had died. The new teacher could just use the deceased professor’s old lectures. Except that Scotty said “merde” instead of “morte” and merde means s&!t. Basically he said, “The old professor was s*&t, so it’s not important. You can use his lectures.” The real professor who was grading the exam started cracking up, she thought it was pretty hilarious.

Ah, the joys of learning a new language. You never know when you’re going to say something wrong or funny, but it’s a good lesson in learning how to roll with things. C’est la vie.

About Rebecca

Hi! After five years in Europe, I'm adjusting to life back in the US. I use this blog to record my adventures, post photos, organize recipes, and post about things that interest me.
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10 Responses to Learning French – the final Exams.

  1. xandreverkes says:

    Oh funny funny!!!! I enrolled in french classes… it’s starting next week & I’m am crazy excited about it…. lots of nerves as well!!!! But it is something I’ve always wanted to do…. & this year there is no putting off!!!! Thanks for sharing this comical story… I’m bound to have a few of my own over the next couple of months!!! 😉 – – – watch this space – – – 😀 **

  2. Bethy Manor says:

    This story is one for the books – I love it!

  3. realoves says:

    Perhaps Scotty was using merde too frequently while doing his French studies, thus the faux pas! Love, love it! Thanks for sharing!
    Mom

  4. Hilary says:

    Awesome story! I can imagine the shade of red Scotty’s face turned when he realized his mistake!

  5. that’s genius – a Freudian slip?!

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