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Sounds like a whisper.

Still at it, here is my idea for Thursdays.  Actually, it is decidedly not my idea, or rather the original form is not but the notion of using the concept on this blog is my own.  Kudos me.  Even if it’s microscopic.  Thursday, in the spirit of a popular hashtag ‘Throwback Thursday’, will be devoted to sharing something previously written that might merit a fresh airing.  Or might not.  That is entirely up to your own opinion.  Delighted or disgusted you can record comments and I promise I’ll embrace you.  Here in my Half-Baked world we have a strictly no fights no bites policy.

This post was originally published in 2014.

When I was at school I learned French. In fact I began learning at the aged eight in Mrs Noble’s class. Mrs Noble liked me, having despised my older brother (the loathing was mutual). Given that I generally hated my brother (also mutual and absolutely compulsory at the ages we were), I loved Mrs Noble, which might have been why she liked me. Life is like that. We tend to like those that love us. Unless they are insane stalkers.  But that really is another story.

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I adored the sounds of the words and I enjoyed learning. At secondary school I was, to be fair, generally mediocre at the grammar and indeed only actually began to make friends with conjugating after moving here in September last year. But I perfected my accent and frankly I was waiting for the call to star in the remake of ‘Les Enfants de Paradis’, France’s 1943 answer to ‘Gone With The Wind’. I listened to Jane Birkin breathing her way through Je T’aime Moi Non Plus and wanted to be her.

Adulthood and a cheese business that took me back and forth to Paris to the gastronomic chaos that is Rungis Market.  Ad hoc travels to Provence, Normandy, The Auvergne in search of the perfect morceau to bear triumphantly back to Berkshire in the overstuffed boot of our car and present to our customers who would sigh in ecstasy and run home to devour their new best friend with gusto and self-congratulatory glee that they had found this ‘maaaarvlus little place’ which sold all things French-Cheese without their having to bother at all with la manche.

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During all this time, I listened French. I loved the sound. Compare the way that airport is said in English – two clipped syllables uttered in a reasoned monotone – with the same word in French. L’aeroport. The aer has the lightness of a soufflé and that for me is French. That for me defines what I adore about the language. Of course regionally and even more microscopically the way words are pronounced, the way sentences are constructed, varies. Standard French, the same as BBC English is not the standard at all. My radio station of choice when out in my car and indeed in my home, now that I have discovered the joys of listening on-line to the wireless, is RBA 104.4 Bort les Orgues. The main reason for my slavish devotion is the woman I know as ‘Over Enunciating Announcer Lady’. She is bliss. When she does her petits annonces I am captivated by her emphasis. ‘PerDU, un beagLE tricoloooooR a Bort les OrgUH’ or even more deliciously the moment when behind the wheel shortly before Christmas I heard her utter ‘Soob Millie Mettre aRAY ….. a Champs sur TarentaiNUH’ and realized it was a shout out for The Husband with Two Brains’ presentation on trous noirs (Black Holes) and his observatory in Hawaii. Her fabulous iteration gilds my days and she has unwittingly helped my French from stuttering to fluttering over the last six months.

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That moment driving to Lyon in April when I realized the strange sensation I was experiencing was seeing Spring burst forth to greet me with its bumptious greens and yellows and pinks and whites and mauves in great swathes before my eyes is replicated in my sudden ability to assimilate and respond to a barrage of French with relative ease. But even in areas with harsher tones the words have elegance to me. Somehow Tortue sounds so much more evocative than Tortoise particularly if you can perfect that mysterious swallowed ‘r’ that French babies absorb by osmosis in order to bewitch dull English girls like me later in life.

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I have lived in Italy and speak decent Italian, I learned Russian for six years at school but for me French is candied grace and refinement. If it were a scent it would be captured in a bottle made of a glass so fragile that you would think it was a bubble. Even in Cantal where we live which forms part of the Auvergne region (now wed to Rhône-Alpes as one of the super-regions created during the panda-like François Hollande’s administration and where the accent is renowned as being the hardest to understand in France.  Even for native French speakers.  Say Grenoble. Gren. Oble. Now say it with a French accent (it is after all French). Can you hear the chicly swallowed G? The way the ble whispers away at the end? That’s French. I speak it comme une vache espagnole but I hear it fluently. And it is music in my ears.

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PS: My title is taken from a song by the brilliant Tracy Chapman. She was Talkin’ Bout a Revolution – something else the French do rather well ….

It should be noted that this piece was originally written for a writing competition … it didn’t make the cut but I rather felt it worthy of a place here nonetheless …. you are free to agree or disagree or remain Swiss and neutral.  And the photographs of mountains?  For me learning the language is like walking in the mountains: sometimes the climbs seem endless and the struggle never ending, you feel you won’t ever reach the top, you feel the task impossible but when you turn the corner on the path and take stock of how far you have climbed and breath the air and survey that vista, the effort evaporates.  And  aside from that, I simply love them.

91 Comments Post a comment
  1. I loved learning French at school. It was the only subject that interested me and at which I was any good (I don’t count English as a subject, and could never understand why anybody needed to learn it, it just came naturally.) French and English teachers were the only ones who loved me, and it was reciprocal. French was the one subject for which I won prizes. Each time a book – ‘Delorme in Deep Water’, and ‘Mrs Harris goes to New York’. Sadly, avid reader though I was, neither of those did anything for me, and I never finished them.

    My French is quite reasonable, and I also once spoke Italian, in another life, and Swahili. The idea of studying Russian would intimidate me, more than anything because of having to learn an entirely new alphabet, which is what has put me off attempting Arabic or Chinese.

    Even after 20 years, I still can’t hear any difference between dessus and dessous, and when using them have to make arm movements to indicate what I mean. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    July 12, 2014
  2. Swahili?! Wow … I remember thinking I had made the wrong decision to take Russian rather than German at school as we spent class after class learning the alphabet and the German students were already able to order a meal, buy clothes and flirt with boys called Heinz or Fritz. I am so glad I stuck with it though, because although it was horribly rusty when I finally visited Moscow, it quickly stepped out of the wardrobe in my mind and began to flow again 🙂 Love the remark about above and below – I live above the Ecole Maternelle and I am sure many think I live in the cellar! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    July 13, 2014
  3. Lovely piece honey. I’m sure the judges were biased. Or maybe they had Spanish in their families. Over here we’re not amused by the “une vache espagnole,” quote. XX

    Like

    July 14, 2014
    • Thank you Carl! And my humble apologies to the people of Spain and her Islands on behalf of France for her rude expression 😉 xx

      Like

      July 14, 2014
      • I never got the chance to learn French. The French teacher left and was never replaced. For some reason I find German so much easier now but I so love the French language.

        Liked by 1 person

        April 6, 2020
      • It is a beautiful language. And one I know I will never speak perfectly. My brother did German and fortunately as he worked in Germany for some years much later. I did Russian. Which is another story entirely ….

        Liked by 1 person

        April 6, 2020
  4. Fully deserves a prize in my view – not just because I am pre-disposed towards you! Although I have mixed feelings about the French people, I do enjoy speaking their language. That’s partly because I am pretentious, of course, and enjoy rolling my r’s and so on, but it is a beautiful language.

    Like

    July 14, 2014
    • Ah the rolling of the r’s and all the other nuances of an accent are my favourite bit too! And I refuse to be branded pretentious … thank you for being kind enough to say it should have a prize – its always entirely subjective and the pieces that were chosen were all of a VERY high standard. It was interesting, actually to be back in class … I’d have been happy with a C+ 😉

      Like

      July 15, 2014
  5. Reblogged this on Half Baked In Paradise and commented:

    I’ll fly to Paris tomorrow and then on to Boston (with The Flying Bean) so here is one more post from the past before I start to half-bake some fresh stuff.

    Like

    August 16, 2016
  6. I identify with you entirely on French; but I bet you speak it better now

    Liked by 1 person

    August 16, 2016
    • Debatable after a year spent mostly in the US though my husband (fluent) says I do and I believe EVERY word he says, naturally 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      August 16, 2016
  7. French is it beautiful language that I have never been able to master.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 16, 2016
    • My mastery is tenuous … I’ll write a post about my continuing bloopers one of these days!

      Liked by 1 person

      August 16, 2016
  8. Still mastering, but the French language is the most beautiful in the world and the simplest phrase sounds so lyrical and evocative and graceful and classy.
    Strange then, that this melodic, delicate spoken language can come over somewhat clumsily when sung (sometimes)

    Liked by 1 person

    August 16, 2016
    • It is a beautiful language though I would argue that Italian is also but then I was fluent in that early in my life so it has never caused me a headache! I know what you mean about sung French though – its odd … I need to give it more thought!! Keep working at it and take breaks … being away this year actually improved me – perhaps my brain relaxed and allowed information in the holding bay to find it’s place – who knows.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 16, 2016
  9. I took French way back in high school, many, many years ago. I did not apply myself, therefore learned one or two words. Have a great trip back to the states – be safe my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    August 16, 2016
    • Here’s the deal – get well and strong, come to France and I’ll teach you the very few phrases you will need to have a really good time 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      August 16, 2016
  10. lindywhitton #

    What a great piece- Mrs Noble would be proud of you! I had a stunningly handsome ,charasmatic and totally charming French teacher who would sing to the class. Luckily there’s a song called Lindy-Lou ( my full name) and one day I get serenaded from the corridor with his head stuck through the window into the classroom. What a delicious moment for a 13 year old girl. My German teacher on the other hand was old, took snuff in class and wore sock suspenders- glad he didn’t sing!

    Liked by 1 person

    August 16, 2016
    • That REALLY made me smile …. I bet the 13 year old you was convinced wedding bells were imminent to m’sieur Beau et Charmant! I had a teacher at secondary school called Miss Wildbore – you can imagine the rest 😉

      Like

      August 16, 2016
  11. Despite learning French at school for about 6 years and then having to use it at university, my spoken French when we moved here in ’97 was absolutely hopeless. At least I had the basic grammar, but I took 4 years of classes, read French novels, watched French TV and films and slowly it improved. Now, I’d describe myself as more or less fluent, but not perfect. And I’ve found you need to keep working at it, otherwise you backslide. Bon courage in Boston. When are you back in la belle France?

    Liked by 1 person

    August 16, 2016
    • I’m back in November and then in France til next summer. After that it all depends on things out of my control (I never considered myself a controlling person but even for an inherent free wheeler I find it un petit peu difficile) …. Language takes time and effort to perfect. Bizarrely the pause seemed to have no effect but I don’t want to leave it much longer to be speaking with natives again …..

      Like

      August 16, 2016
  12. That is a beautiful post revering your second language. I love the sound of French, also, but now am more in love with Spanish and all it’s many dialects. Have a wonderful trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 16, 2016
    • It is a matter of the place as well as the language I think …. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

      Like

      August 16, 2016
  13. French can sound wonderful…a great deal depends on the speaker! i do like your radio lady!

    I loathed French at school…but when the U.K. joined the Common Market I had to get up to scratch in order to ‘master’ French admin law upon which EU law and practice was modeled.
    So, moving to France I was fully capable of explaining the effect of fait du prince in employment law…which was not a great deal of use in explaining to a plumber that I was not going to buy his overpriced boiler in which, should he wish, he was at liberty to boil his head.

    However, I had good patient neighbours, I read the local rag in order to have a subject of discussion in the bakery queue and it all eventually came together…..though the patois, generally spoken by those around me, could produce befuddlement, even before the mustard glasses were produced and filled.

    I sometimes think of producing an exam paper for knowledge of patois:
    Your neighbour asks you for the loan of the ‘;bettoon’…
    What is your response?

    Liked by 1 person

    August 16, 2016
    • Over enunciating lady remains my guilt free pleasure. Hopefully over two years from writing that piece I am a teeny bit improved though my current wrestling with Americano is playing havoc with my small brain! I can imagine the frustration you suffered when tiring to communicate your true feelings to the ruddy plombier and I marvel at your ability to even begin to master the patois …. What on earth IS a bettoon???

      Liked by 1 person

      August 16, 2016
      • He had to point…it was a cement mixer!

        Liked by 1 person

        August 17, 2016
      • I wondered if it was rooted in béton …. A word that haunts me vis a vis our historic monument (or hysterical mess) – I’m not convinced Frenchmen should be allowed near cement mixers. By the way when my first husband was four and his mother introduced him to his new baby brother she thought, being an inclusive soul, that he might like to help choose a name for the sprog – he remains disappointed that she didn’t agree to cement mixer – I can see his point 😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

        August 17, 2016
      • I like the idea of the name….pity his mother was so conventional…

        Quite agree about cement mixers. In my first village the priest in the next commune raised money for a replica of the grotto of Lourdes…it was, of course, made in cement and was a monument to the concrete brutalist school of architecture. Placed as it was near a road junction, it was responsible for no end of traffic accidents as drivers received an eyeful of it…

        Liked by 1 person

        August 17, 2016
      • She’s generally quite colourful but I have found in life that many become mysteriously dull and staid when it comes to the naming of offspring. I was careful to err somewhere between alluring and odd with mine. They don’t seem to mind. As for concrete Lourdes – egads, I feel quite faint!

        Liked by 1 person

        August 17, 2016
      • I think that that is what happened to the motorists too…it was truly hideous and to see it looming up in the midst of verdant countryside was a real shock to the system.

        Liked by 1 person

        August 17, 2016
      • Sort of like a highly inappropriate grotesque Catholic version of the Milton Keynes cows!

        Liked by 1 person

        August 17, 2016
  14. “didn’t make the cut”…should have won! Great piece and reminds me why I also always loved trying to speak French the way the French do. My mother was a French teacher so we had lots of practice at home. I have a funny story to tell you one day, which centres around ” il y a quelqu’un.” Warm wishes, and safe travels 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    August 16, 2016
    • I can’t wait to hear the story! You are, as ever far too kind to me but it has been interesting revisiting a few of the old posts and in this instance doing a bit of self examination (not having the wonderful benefit of a French teacher for ma mère) and wondering if I have improved since then at all. I can put to a quick test tomorrow as I’m dodging through Roissy en route to The New World. Warm wishes to you and the family 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      August 16, 2016
  15. Lovely piece O. I learned French at school and when I was married we spent 3 weeks every summer in Provence and the Cote d’Az. Then a break of about 20 years when not a word was spoken. It surprised me how much I retained when I moved here but the accent still throws me with a strong emphasis on the last ‘e’ in words which makes it sound more like Spanish. Not surprising since many of the oldies have Catalan origins to say nothing of Occitan which is another kettle of fish entirely. Still don’t quite get the difference between savoir and connaitre but then my neighbours seem to use the words interchangeable. Lovely language to listen to though and I love the accent when French people speak English.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 18, 2016
    • Occitan is fascinating and stretches much further North than I originally realised. In our area too. My understanding of savoir is that you use it if it if you are talking about a skill and connaître for someone you know. Therefore if i know how to teach The Bean tricks je sais but if I know her je connais. My nemesis is au dessous and au dessus! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      Like

      August 18, 2016
      • Thanks for the tip. In return, remember ‘sous’ is under/beneath therefore au dessous…the pronunciation can still trip you up though.

        Liked by 1 person

        August 19, 2016
      • It’s the pronunciation that really gets me …. I always have to accompany with a mime!

        Like

        August 19, 2016
  16. For me, it’s the prevalence in French of quotidien daily vocabulary that has English cognates of a high register that makes French so fun. Primordial, essence, peripaticienne–I love saying them!

    https://zipfslaw.org/2016/01/29/why-english-speakers-like-to-speak-french/

    Liked by 1 person

    August 20, 2016
    • Loved it! You just earned a follow from me …. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of your work 🙂

      Like

      August 20, 2016
  17. I could listen to the French or an English person speak all day….My first husband was from Lucca Italy….so Italian it was….LOL I am no longer fluent, (my daughter can speak it all day) but I can say with a few days around some Italians, it all starts to come back…LOL I am sure I could get feed in Italy…LOL as the family I married into owned Italian Dinner Houses…I can cook the language of love…LOL I also can do okay in a Spanish world…my second husband was from El Salvador….so my high school Spanish came in handy…LOL When my daughter and I went to Paris, she was the one who did most of the talking…LOL she is the one with the multi-lingual tongue…LOL I learned a smile and a handshake got me further in France than trying to speak the language…..now I am with a German, part of my roots, and let me tell you, that is one crazy language!! I can understand some of it…but speaking it just doesn’t roll off the tongue like its suppose to, and it doesn’t help that I translate it to Spanish in my head….LOL loved the pictures and post…..bonne journée, mon amie xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    August 22, 2016
    • Thank you, Kat …. I love Italian – lived in Rome for a while in the 80s and learned it then. I think they call it immersion when you are just chucked in and HAVE to learn. I have no Spanish to speak of and German confounded me when I tried to learn some phrases last year for a visit. Fortunately they all seemed very forgiving. Xx

      Like

      August 22, 2016
  18. Ah I didn’t know that you spoke Italian – I am currently grappling with a beginners course on line.
    You may have noted my absence, and I have had a little set-back with my surgery that left me not really in the right frame of mind
    I am really on the back foot with French also, as only did it for one year aged 11-12, so never had any formal grammar lessons and just had to pick up what I could as I went along.
    CHEESE – love love love it – in fact, I am going to an afternoon of ‘Parisian Jazz with cheese and wine tomorrow at the Nordic church near Liverpool waterfront!
    My daughter called me and said do you want to come to a cheese and wine Parisian Jazz event tomorrow – I replied ‘You had me at CHEESE’
    I am still way behind with my reading, but glad I opened this one xx

    Liked by 1 person

    September 24, 2016
    • Italian is a beautiful language …. I moved to Rome for work shed 25 batting WAY above my height and without a word of the lingo. As my daughter commented in her birthday card to me this year … It’s only when you jump in over your head that you realise how tall you really are! Take it gently Sista lovely l’m right here when you are. And we WILL meet in Paris this year. I arrive back in France mid November and will be based in Grenoble til the end of May. That had to give us a window, n’est pas? X

      Like

      September 24, 2016
  19. Instead of saying, “I speak it comme une vache espagnole”, I say “je baragouine”. I learnt French by reading 10 French books using my dictionary and underlining every unknown word to me – it was hard. After ten book, I worn out my dictionary. After these books, I very seldom use dictionary. In my home, I have about 1500 French books, which I have l read thrice. It takes about 10 years to read them all. Every evening before sleeping, I read a French book.

    Spanish I learnt when in my youth, I worked 4½ months in Las Palmas (Canary Islands). Portuguese, I learnt on two winter courses (once a week). My teacher was young a Brazilian lady. English, I learnt in school.

    I know Swedish, from school, but I have no need for it. German I read in school also, but I cannot made my posts in it. Written German is better to understand, than spoken.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 13, 2017
    • I’m so sorry, I have only just found your comment … it was languishing in my spam folder which I’m afraid I seldom check. You are clearly serious about your languages and i am impressed at your fortitude in learning French in such a way. ‘Comme une Vache Espagnole’ is a common coloquialism which is easily understood and generally amuses the French. je bargouine, is of course much more ‘correct’. Thank you for taking the time to comment – you sound fascinating with all those languages. Again, I apologise for taking so long to reply

      Like

      March 23, 2017
      • Thank You. I check every Morning Spam folder and I have found thethere occasionally some real comments. Last time it was yesterday.

        Happy logging!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 23, 2017
  20. Well, I can thank Jane Birkin for bringing me here (not sure how I missed this beautiful piece?) as well as for captivating your young ear with her accent. Personally it always drove me CRAZY to hear her speak with such a strong English accent, and say things like ‘le chaise’ after so many years in France, but when I look back at how lovely she was way back when, and see the spell she wove in those videos, I can understand how so many (including Serge, and your friend Jim-Pig) fell for her. Jane aside, this is a wonderful ode to the music of language, and I agree that French captivates the ear. I think once its music well and truly gets inside your head, you hear things differently. Thank you for capturing that magic so well!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 21, 2017
    • Living here has changed my ear and in fact being in Grenoble rather than Cantal has changed it again. I had got very used to the rasping Auvergne accent and here it is different, less guttural which is easier on the ear, I guess. Of course the ear is now more adjusted to French people speaking their language and I wince at Jane but I still want to BE her as she was then – so effortlessly lovely. I’m glad you enjoyed it … I’d actually forgotten it!

      Liked by 1 person

      September 21, 2017
  21. I understand why you love mountains… and it’s nice to read you love the way French sounds, I didn’t think people could love it like you.

    I hope all is well with you and yours !

    Liked by 1 person

    August 10, 2018
    • Oh thank you! I do love French. I miss it at the moment …. but The Bean (my dog) only responds to French so at least I have her to talk to when we are out walking 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      August 10, 2018
      • you can listen to French radios on the Internet… Have a great weekend, bon samedi et bonne promenade avec “The Bean” 😉

        Like

        August 11, 2018
  22. I mean “could love it like you do”

    Liked by 1 person

    August 10, 2018
  23. This is absolutely lovely … I had a fabulous French teacher at school, the only teacher whom I really liked and respected. She used to wear the most beautiful Hermes scarves. Always so glamorous and everything that we wanted to be … heaven!

    Liked by 1 person

    August 24, 2018
  24. almost Hyacinth #

    And so with each day’s entry you peel away another layer. You are like an onion and I continuously learn from the shedding of your layers. Like you, I love language; but unlike you, I did not have a great deal of exposure to many other languages. so I remain the classical American monoglot. I can badly murmur a few phrases in a few tongues, but that’s really where it ends. Even if I immersed there would be no one to converse with and so nothing would stick.
    I do confess that I love to be sitting within earshot of a conversation in another language or in a room where I can’t speak to anyone. It becomes like a game to ‘crack the code’. in my next life I will certainly be fluent… in so may things!

    Liked by 1 person

    April 2, 2020
    • What a lovely compliment though I hasten to add that I do not smell like an onion. I hope! Native English speakers of whatever continent tend to be poor linguists – there is not the incentive to excel and master a foreign language as there might be for a Romanian or Icelandic person, for example. My paternal grandfather spoke 9 languages fluently. I have a long way to go before I can really consider myself a polyglot! You might be amused at a story from my first wedding. My aunt and her sister were raised in a small town in North Wales where Welsh is the first language. They sat in a pew nattering in Welsh (as was their wont given that they were unlikely to be understood and could therefore say pretty much anything they pleased). One of my friends mothers, at the reception, said – who are the two Russian ladies? I looked blank. She said oh maybe they are Scandinavian. Still none the wiser she nodded discretely in my Aunt’s direction ‘that one!’ Welsh, i said. Definitely no cracking the code there. They barely use vowels!!!

      Like

      April 3, 2020
  25. Good to have you back Osyth. Four in a row; what a treat 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    April 3, 2020
  26. A beautiful tribute to the language of love. Edith Piaf would be very proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 3, 2020
  27. I took French in high school and don’t remember much other than how to count to ten… but I’m certain that will come in handy some day! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    April 4, 2020
  28. It sure will!

    Like

    April 5, 2020
  29. What is it about the language of France. I find it so mesmerising and alluring. My son took up French in High school for a few years and had quite an impressive pronunciation with the language. So when we were in France on holiday, I would always send him to the counter first to order the daily baguettes/ croissants or irresistible cakes! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    April 6, 2020
    • Good for him …. the French do prefer good pronunciation. They also have a particularly withering expression when they don’t understand what you are saying!!

      Liked by 1 person

      April 6, 2020
  30. I can only profess envy here at your perfect handle on French! Do you speak it at home here with HB2? On a different note, I love putting on Gainsbourg or Birkin when I am in a dulcet mood. The skies being uniformly grey and it being utterly silent, I am finding it easy to slip into that frame of mind with your post. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    April 9, 2020
    • We do speak French at home. And always in France. I’m so glad you love Serge and Jane. They do rather fit the breathless quality of the days right now. She has suffered great tragedy in her life. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      April 9, 2020
      • I had to look up pieces on JB to know more. Fairly happening and filled with melancholia later on. Thanks for the pointer, F.

        Hope you all are doing okay there in Boston. xx

        Liked by 1 person

        April 9, 2020
      • We are staying sensible, strong and smiling. We hope we are safe and will remain well. ‘‘Tis the strangest of times, dear D XXX

        Like

        April 9, 2020
      • Just the hope. I will never tire of thinking so! Xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        April 9, 2020
      • That’s the spirit! I will raise my glass of kombucha to that xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        April 9, 2020
      • Also, The Bean understands only French? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        April 9, 2020
      • The Bean prefers French and responds better to requests in French but she is bilingual and we have trained the newbies to commands in both languages. Which they mostly ignore 😂 XX

        Liked by 1 person

        April 9, 2020
      • The Bean be chic. Maybe I could persuade him to give me lessons. As for the latest fam, they must be enjoying a whole lot of pampering, bilingually of course. 😛 xx

        Liked by 1 person

        April 10, 2020
      • I got asked by a particularly obnoxious man why I was speaking foreign to my dog when out in the forest a few years ago. ‘What’s with the weird talking – you Bulgarian or somethin’?’ He demanded. No, I said, I live a mile away and stomped off!!! Xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        April 12, 2020
      • Uncouth man alert! Was this Stateside?

        Liked by 1 person

        April 13, 2020
      • Yes it was! Right here in our local town forest. Shocking. 😂

        Like

        April 15, 2020
      • Now I am curious if Bulgarian sounds at all like French! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

        April 17, 2020
      • I’m very certain it doesn’t. I’ve no idea why he picked Bulgarian – he was quite a strange man!

        Like

        April 17, 2020
      • 🥴

        Liked by 1 person

        April 17, 2020
  31. Great to be fluent in more than one language, and particularly in the beautiful and challenging French language. I had six months only, of being taught French in school and the only phrase I remember is “the pen of my aunt”. After that I had to do Latin for four years, and nobody speaks that anymore! And we were taught Afrikaans all through school too. I did an intro German course later on and have done two conversational isiZulu courses, but despite those endeavours I am ashamed that I am typical of many English speakers and am only fluent in English. I am full of respect for anyone who speaks more than one language.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 24, 2020
    • Latin may not be spoken but it is such a huge help in so many areas. I regret not learning it. It really was necessity that forced my French to somewhat fluent. English simply isn’t spoken in the deep depths of France (why would it be?). But I think you are being modest – fluent you may not be but you’ve got a wealth of linguistic knowledge right there. The isiZulu is surely far removed from any European language and Afrikaans I wouldn’t know where to start!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      April 24, 2020
      • Necessity is an excellent teacher! In my case what I was taught was not necessarily learnt …

        Liked by 1 person

        April 26, 2020
      • 😊

        Like

        April 26, 2020
  32. I couldn’t agree more, Fiona, learning a new language is really like walking in the mountains!! Regrettably my French hasn’t improved much in the last two years although I sometimes make an effort to read a few pages in French everyday – which lasts for about a week before I forget all about it and have to start anew after a month 😉. At the moment I’m fighting my way through Paul Auster’s Mr Vertigo, and even though I couldn’t translate every word even if my.life depended on it, I get the general drift of the story and that keeps me going. 😄 Like you I’m fascinated by its musical sound and I like your image of comparing it with a delicate glass bubble. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    April 25, 2020
    • Bravo you for sticking with it (even if you slide off the cart regularly). Living here, I feel I have to make sure my French doesn’t evaporate. So for every book I read in English I read one in French, we watch French films and I listen to French radio. I write to my friends in French and they don’t cringe too much (I don’t think but then again – I can’t actually see their expression so maybe they do!). It is a beautiful language – worthy of the effort. 🇫🇷

      Liked by 1 person

      April 25, 2020
  33. From each language truth be told, from those who fluently put forth the verse. Words mean nothing from those who embellish for the sake of chatter. Harmonious is the spoken word regardless of tongue when backed by goodwill and grace.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 29, 2020

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