I saw Timo Torikka in a couple of episodes of one of my favorite shows, Maigret (the French version with Bruno Crémer), and I kept wondering how he learned to speak such fluent French even though he's from Finland. I found an article in French that is now gone, so I did another search and found a French interview with him about "his life, his career, and his relationship with France" ("sa vie, de sa carrière et de sa relation avec la France"). I was excited to read it because I would finally find out about him, and if I didn't understand some words, I could easily look them up.
But then I saw that it's a video interview, and the whole point of it is exactly what I want to know: "Comment Timo Torikka a-t-il fini par jouer en français et en France?" If I knew French well enough, I'd know by now because I would've watched the video and skipped to the parts that answer my questions!
But now I have to figure out what they're saying. My French is horrible even though I studied it and translated it into English for more than a few years, but it's easier to read than speaking or listening, and if I don't understand what I read, I can look up the words online or in a dictionary.
I turned on the video's CC which are French words generated by YouTube to attempt to transcribe the dialog, so I can understand it ok, though it's not precise. But the bottom line is it's difficult to understand what they're saying. Frustrating!
I'm sure if I ever go to France, or even Montreal, my French will improve because I will hear it all around me and will try to speak it. We have to use different parts of the brain for different language functions, and the speaking part of my brain is underdeveloped. I have the same issue in Spanish, though I have no excuse for not trying to speak because there are many areas of Chicago where I can speak to people from Latin America. I rarely see or hear French people in Chicago. But especially during this pandemic time, I should make more of an effort to improve those language skills. Bon chance to moi.
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