…and come and restez la with me in France’ – so the Bill Wyman song goes.
I love a good mixture of Franglish (or Spanglish for that matter). Eventually, with examples of the above, combined with expressive mime, facial expressions and dexterous hand gestures you can get yourself understood.
My French teacher endured approximately seven years trying to teach me the basics of French conversation and grammar. His perseverance was rewarded when our whole family got lost in Caen at the beginning of our summer holidays ‘under canvas’ and, since I was the only one who had supposedly learned French, I had to locate our first night’s accommodation.
I had seen Maurice Chevalier, Alain Delon and Sacha Distel all speak fractured English on the TV and naively assumed that the majority of the French population could do likewise!! Duh!!!
To my complete amazement I learned that every French person I accosted (in the street or even in their homes whilst having their family diner – I was desperate), with my pitiful ‘je suis perdu – où est le… hôtel??’, was met with a mixture of indifference or a rush of ‘gauche et droites’ which left me more confused than ever.
The same French teacher had also advised me that ‘gesticulating’ as a last resort might be the way to go. SO bearing this in mind, I bravely flagged down a passing police car and watched, horrified, when a Charles de Gaulle look-a-like stepped out of the Citroen with his hand resting gently on his holster and asked me (in French) what the problem was? Well, for starters the gun was… Anyway, I managed to impart the necessary information and he quickly rose to the challenge. We were in our hotel 15 minutes later having witnessed said gendarme ‘tearing a strip off’ the hotel owner for turning the neon sign off that would have alerted us to the hotel at least 3 hours ago!
All library customers can avoid painful scenarios such as the above incident by utilizing, with the aid of their Library Card Number and password/pin, the eResource, Mango Languages. There are 72 languages available (including American Sign Language). Clicking on the option ‘Building the Basics’ after choosing the language you wish to learn is a great way to start your linguistic adventures.
Of course, you can also:
- visit our libraries and select combined CD & basic phrase book sets off the shelf
- visit the Overdrive platform, type in ‘languages’ in the search facility and download a language pack onto a mobile device
- check our Community Information Christchurch (CINCH) database to see what language learning groups and classes are available near you.
Bonne chance! Buena suerte! In bocca al lupo! Lycka till!