I had to speak bad French

I've translated French, but I haven't had to speak it for years. I think the last time I had a lengthy conversation was when I was traveling in Hungary and got directions from an African medical student, and we ended up talking about traveling and our respective countries.

The other day I had to make a call to France for someone who understood nothing more than "bonjour", and asking me to help was definitely done out of desperation because my spoken French is horrible, but there was no one else around who could attempt communication. The task was simple: call a friend's mom, give her my phone number, and ask her to pass on a message. Once I wrote down my own phone number in French, I got up the nerve to call, and I even managed to sound polite. But I'm sure my friend's mom thought that my French was lame, so I told her that "je parle japonais et anglais" to let her know that I'm not an ignorant American.

But we understood each other, so I truly felt a sense of accomplishment after I hung up the phone. Which makes me miss dealing with other languages even more.


Silas said...

Wow, that brings back memories (not of bad French, but of you working with languages). I always enjoyed working with you on language-related projects and thought you were a 'natural' for it!

Margaret Larkin said...

At this point, I'm so wrapped up in radio that my language pursuits have decreased. But I don't miss working alone in front of a computer trying to figure words out.