Read about my English class in France here or check out my blog http://cestlavieavannes.blogspot.fr!

Nothing could possibly make you second guess your American high school French education as much as English class in France. Whether or not it's your teacher calling a photographer a photo grapher or pronouncing "status" "stuh- tus" it really makes you wonder what you have been learning in French class.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do like my English class here. I pretty much just smile the entire time. And of course it's super fun to correct the teacher. "Umm excuse me but that makes absolutely no sense!" And you're not even being annoying, you're being helpful!

My favorite moments in English class have consisted of:

  • When my teacher said that it was hip to call the year 2007, twenty-seven, or 2009, twenty-nine.
  • Having to read extracts from Confessions of a Shopaholic for our "Advertising and Consuming" section.
  • Learning about Black Friday and how "it's common for people to kill others for deals."
  • Having to explain Wal-Mart to my class.

Of course there are many more but that is all that comes off the top of my head.

I have also learned how complicated English is. There are so many rules that I have never even heard of, but somehow I just know them. Like did you know that the rule for when you add an "er" to the end of a word versus a "more" in front of the word depends on the syllables? For instance you say "nicer" because "nice" has one syllable, but you say "more amazing" because "amazing" has three syllables. I was talking to one of my host sisters about how annoying and confusing it is in French that all objects have a gender. She told me that it wasn't that hard. One gender just sounds right and the other sounds wrong. She said "un voiture" just sounds wrong, it's "une voiture!" To which I responded, "yes, sure that works for you but they both sound fine to me!" Other than having a fun time, English class here has really helped me improve my French and better understand how the mind picks up new languages. It's truly amazing how differently my mind processes the English being spoken by our teacher, fellow students, and recorded tapes then how native French speakers process it. They hear "mucher" where I hear "mature," they understand "choice" when I say "chores." Like have you ever thought that sheet, shit, short, and shirt all sound kind of the same? Or symmetry and cemetery?

But, I must say that overall, my favorite thing in English class is hearing all my classmates speak English. It makes me feel so much better about my French!

Thats all for today! I only have one more week here, so be expecting all my last minute blog posts soon!

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Lisbeth Allen December 05, 2012 at 11:19 PM
I had a French speaking coworker for a year or so. He often pointed out weird words or phrases that I take for granted. I realized that English must be a difficult language to learn. His name was Francois (pronounced Franswa), but my boss called him Francoise (Franswaz) which is the feminine name, for the entire year.
Tom Brody December 05, 2012 at 11:53 PM
This is one of the most intelligent discussion strings that I've seen on Alameda Patch. The take-home lessons likely common in most disciplines, not just in the discipline of languages. In my opinion, college degrees only provide you with the qualification to receive real-world training on actual technical skills. For many or perhaps most college degrees, what you learn really does not enable you to do anything (aside from making you trainable). And so, it might be expected that English teachers in France won't be optimally effective, except for those teachers who have lived for a couple of years in Great Britain or in the United States. My favorite English mistake is as follows. Once, at my laboratory back in the University of Wisconsin, one of the Japanese researchers in my laboratory had made a little discovery, and he was excited about his research discover. But what he exclaimed was, "I AM VERY EXCITING!"
geordie December 05, 2012 at 11:57 PM
If you ever have to deal with a really thick accent it makes you aware of the context sensitivity of our language parsing. We were taught in information theory that the predictability of language (there are few possible next words) drastically reduces the complexity of automatic speech recognition. Have fun in France.


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