Hi folks and I'm glad to see so many of you visiting my blog day. Before I get down to the nitty gritty of my subject, please permit me to introduce myself. My name is Simon and I've been around this blog for quite some time. But you'll usually find me in another category, where you can read all about my adventures in France. Which is why my author decided to pull me out of obscurity and let me address you today. You see, I'm one of those rare English speaking originals who has actually taken it upon himself to learn to speak French. And I don't just mean going into the shop and shouting "avez-vous un cuppa" in ever raising decibels. No I mean learning real French, the way French people speak it; with mistakes admittedly but more or less understandable.

Now let me make it clear from the start that I'm a convert to what I'm going to tell you. The day I turned my back on home and raced off to France, I was looking for adventure and for a good time, but the last thing on my mind was to actually learn French. Like most of you here today I was struck with that well-documented illness deludengitis, in which the sufferer is deluded into believing the whole world has a responsibility to learn to speak English. And it took a lot of time and much more nagging before a cure beckoned. So to help you avoid making the mistakes as I did, please consider the following:

  1. French is easy; it really is. The proof is the fact that even I learnt to speak and can make myself understood reasonably well. Apart from that in the town I live in, you'll find a lot of two year olds scarcely old enough to run around the streets, yet capable of speaking perfect French. So, there's no need to despair. Chin up, and off we go.
  2. Now for my second reason I'm going to call on your pride as members of the English speaking community. Have you any idea what its reputation is? Let's just say that one way of improving this, is showing the French that we too are capable of going beyond our comfort zone and learning complzxities like the French use of the subjunctive in expressing any sort of desire. It'll enhance your reputation 100 fold.
  3. Now for my third reason, please try and imagine the following situation. You've met a young lady at the local pub and you go for a walk with her. When you come to the park bench, you put your arm around her shoulder as your lips move close to her ears and you gently whisper "I love you" or "give me a kiss". Can you imagine anything more deadening than that. But it'll send an electrifying tingle up the young lady's back if she hears: "Je t'aime; embrasse-moi." Let's just put this one down to the voice of personal experience.
  4. My next reason will appeal particularly to the sadists amongst you. I've entitled it "the student's revenge." I experienced the thrill of this just some months ago when I had to return to Ireland for my father's funeral, where I met my old French teacher. I was so excited at my new-found ability to speak French, I actually greeted him in that wonderful language, upon which he turned red, green and purple before racing out of the room in complete despair. Poor guy, hehad spent years inocculating me against the French language only to see me succumb in the end, after all.
  5. What eventually persuaded me, that knowing French would be worth all the trouble it might cause, was the night I went into the restaurant famished after a hard day's work harvesting. I was famished, and what's more the waitress was a pretty little thing, so I was hoping to make a nice score there. Wanting to impress I cast several flourishing glances at the menu before choosing the most expensive dish, figuring it must be something very substantial. You can imagine my surprise when I was served with some very exquisite octopus soup in a cup not much bigger than an oversized thimble. I should have smelt a rat the moment I saw that sweet young thing's smile when I told her how hungry I was.
  6. But learning French can also save you money. If you've ever been in a French taxi, then you know that an English accent automatically increases prices twofold, and the same holds true for street vendors in most of the big towns. Apart from that, there's no way you can complain when you're short-changed if you don't speak French. So in the long run, the price of the lessons is more than made up for by the amounts you save elsewhere.
  7. Ever been around a table when someone was telling a story. The punch line comes and there's silence. What an embarrassment! But imagine laughing out at a funny story only to find out you misunderstood and it was really quite sad. Yes, friends, I've been there too.
  8. One of the banes of TV and cinema are subtitles. I hate them because they always draw my attention even when I don't need them or can't understand them. But it's worse when I can understand them, because they usually get it wrong anyway, and then I get annoyed over nothing. So if you want to join the "banish subtitles" brigade, then please learn to speak French and you'll never need another subtitle in your life.
  9. Now if not speaking the language can get you into embarrassing situations, speaking it can help you turn the tables on others. One night I was out on the town with some English friends who had turned up unexpectedly. We were in a small restaurant and some young people on the table next to us were making fun of us, obviously believing we couldn't understand a thing. As we went out, I'm afraid I couldn't resist the temptation of going up to them and thanking them in perfect French for their highly entertaining remarks. The shades of red their faces took on were truly a sight to be seen.
  10. Ever wondered why the French are the way they are. Well, learning their language helps you understand a little more this complex mentality.
  11. Well, my talk is entitled thirteen reasons and I'm beginning to run out of ideas. But one more comes to mind. If you learn French, then you'll certainly have something to write, the next time this prompt comes up as part of the Fiction Friday blog.
  12. Maybe you've always been Mr. Ordinary. Never one to rise above the crowd. Well, with your knowledge of French, you'll become someone special in the English speaking world, and if you even go on to learn another language after that, then you'll surely become a giant.
  13. Now having given all these weird and wonderful reasons for learning French, let me end with the most vital. My author is a French teacher. So if you start learning French, not only will you be keeping a deserving character alive, but maybe he'll have so much to do that he'll stop writing these stupid stories about me. And if you want to know what I'm talking about, then just click here.

4 comments:

Very entertaining Paul ... a good laugh before I go off to bed ... and I'm going to have to read more of Simon, he sound like a bit of a character.

And I see here too, there French teacher raises its proverbial head. Whilst mine is an old battleaxe of a thing, my actual French teacher at school was so horribly addled with anxiety and nervousness, that we barely learnt anything in the entire semester.

21 March 2008 at 14:18  

An opportunity has arisen at my workplace for a transfer to an office in Sweden, its not for a couple of months so I have decided to learn Swedish. My reasoning is that if I can speak Swedish it will give me a massive advantage over my competition. The thing is I don’t know how to go about learning a new language is it best learning from someone who already speaks the language or should I attempt learning language online? Is it difficult with no one to speak to? Any help I can get will be greatly appreciated.

1 April 2008 at 10:48  

In my opinion you'd be best learning from a Swedish person rather than trying to learn online. Not sure how to go about that though. Try through some of the established language schools. Or maybe there are some Swedish students at a nearby universtity.

1 April 2008 at 14:42  

Thanks for writing this.

11 November 2008 at 08:50  

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