Friday, July 1, 2011

Je ne comprend pas

I work in a lot of French countries, and even though I have given French lessons a shot, I never managed to master this sexy but yet very difficult language. The French teacher I had was more interested in spelling the words correctly than understanding it and helping you get from A to B. And my French teacher was a guy, so what's the fun in learning a new language from a French dude??

So, despite my effort to get some basic words in my head, the lack of French people to test my skills on in Cape Town eventually made me quit. Traveling to the French countries in Africa where I work didn't make it much easier either. They all are keen themselves to learn English and to save me from my suffering they quickly switch over to their broken English which is far more effective than my pathetic French effort. So eventually I learned two phrases which I have been using ever since...."Je suis désolé" and "je ne comprend pas". So far this has worked for me in many situations where I knew that somehow there is going to be a very big misundertsanding or uncomfortable situation if I don't get myself out of this one fast. Later I learned that "une bière s'il vous plaît" and "une autre bière s'il vous plaît" are also very handy phrases to know. I have been using them quite often while traveling in West Africa.

After another visit here in Port-Gentil I realized that knowing a bit more than the four phrases above would not only make my life a bit easier, but also more interesting. So, instead of getting the T-shirt above which I was hoping would make the need for speaking French obsolete, I would rather give French lessons another shot. So, if there are any young good-looking French ladies in Cape Town that do French tutoring, please contact me. I want to sign up.

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