Remember that 1971 movie starring Gene Hackman?
You weren’t even born yet? Then skip the clip – I only hijacked the name of the movie for my post title!
I have my own French Connection. In fact I have two! That’s the beauty of blogging and connections.
Celine Jeanjean, a delightful French woman living in Hong Kong, recently nominated me for a Liebster Award.
Merci Beaucoup, Celine !
You can read her charming post about her own Liebster Award here.
Little did Celine know that one of her questions plays quite nicely into my French Connection.
“Can you fake accents?”, she asked me.
No, but give me a romance language or two, and I can multi-mangle with the best tri-linguals!
I took six years of French classes and two years of Spanish classes. My young brain had no problem differentiating the two during high school and college. Since then, however, I have had multiple encounters with Spanish-speaking people. Without exception, I can understand what they are telling or asking me, but the only response that comes to me is French!
How is that possible? My brain receives their Spanish input, but spits back only French!
Of course this gave me a woefully false impression of my ability to converse in French, should the opportunity present itself. While we were planning our bike trip in France, our friend Lou – who masterfully bails us out of any Spanish-speaking encounter – asked me about assuming his interpretive duty in France.
“No problem!”, I boasted, eagerly anticipating my chance to match his lingual prowess. “I got us covered.”
The first day we were in Paris, we entered a store where the clerk asked us a question. Hub, Lou and Coco all looked at me expectantly. I opened my mouth and … Rien, Nada, Nothing … No French, No Spanish, No English.
We all turned and sheepishly walked out of the store. My head hung in shame as Lou said, “They spoke French and she froze.”
Of course, we repeated that line daily as we laughed, drank and biked our way through France. And the reality is even when I tried my primitive French, they would immediately (and politely) switch to English.
Thus dashed my high school dream of working as an interpreter at the United Nations; my college dream of becoming an accomplished career linguist; and my Boomer dream of “parlez-vous“-ing through Paris.
Fortunately, although my French dreams are dashed, my French Connections are alive and thriving.
I met Kelli at Forty and Fantastique during the A to Z Challenge. She is fluent in French, accomplished at many skills including piloting and writing, and she is planning a “fantastique” trip to France, which was her theme during the Challenge. This “Q” post and this “On The Fringes” post are samples of her excellent writing style.
I am also grateful I met Kelli because I met Celine through Kelli’s blog on the last day of the A to Z Challenge. Celine’s “L” for Librocubicularists is a must read.