Language Learning

So what is like learning a Language? Well, we go to school from 8:30-11:30 and 1:30-4:30, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. For the lunch breaks, we pick up both kids, go home, make lunch, and then bring them back. Since school days are intense, we usually use Wednesday to have family time, and do some review and catch up.

Some days are fun, like the day Chris came home and said they did food and cooking terms. He actually felt like he was ahead of the game that day! (He usually comes home and says it was like drinking from a firehose.)

Then there are days when the conversation goes a little rogue. For this story I have to share with you a few french vocabulary words:

Une Femme: A woman

Ma Femme: My Wife

Un Cafard: A cockroach

So we were learning the word ‘un cafard’, for what reason, I’m not sure, probably to pronounce our a’s or r’s or something, and our teacher asked the class if they like cockroaches. Here is the mostly English version of the conversation that happened next:

Professor, clearly disgusted by the animal: Does anyone like cockroaches?

One fellow Student (out twelve): Yes, sure

Prof: What!? Really?

Student: I used to have some.

Prof: What? 

Student: Yes, a woman (une femme) gave them to me as a gift. 

Professor looks confused and disgusted at the same time

Student: Yes, A woman, but not my wife. (UNE femme, mais pas MA femme.)

Professer: I would hope so. That would be a strange wedding present. Here honey, 200 cockroaches for your wedding gift. 

It’s a little snapshot of how communication can go awry quickly. Ma femme or Une femme could trip you up, along with a million other things. Though it can make for interesting stories over the dinner table!

We both have language partners, and mine is incredibly sweet. The last time we met, we had a nice time talking and taking a walk around a local park, and then we went to her place where she gave me a tour of her house. It is a very old home, beautifully redone and she was describing what her living room and dining room had been before it was remodeled. She kept trying to tell me what the room was used for and I kept hearing the word cow, and what cows eat, and kept staring at her like I didn’t get it. My brain was not accepting that anything to do with a cow and a living room could be connected, so I must not be comprehending what she is trying to tell me. We went round and round until we found the french dictionary and I discovered that a very long time ago, people would use a large part of their homes to store hay for their cows for the winter.  Her kitchen, living room and dining room used to be the area where they would store said hay for the winter.

Language learning requires a very open mind, and letting go of preconceived notions.

While it can be very tiring, it can also be fun, and entertaining.

I’m sure there will be more stories like this in the future, but for now, it’s back to school tomorrow.

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