I’ve decided to do something useful whilst Bub feeds and have, from the depths of the junk we took with us from the last house, recovered my ‘learn French’ CDs.
Hypothetically I already speak French. I have a shiny certificate which says I passed an exam in it. At a push, I can understand what people are saying to me, but when asked to produce any meaningful sentences of my own I just start babbling in what can only be described as a cross between Doric, English and Danish with a generic Northern accent.
“Comment ca va?”
“Jeg har det splendid. Fit like wi you, quine?”
Because my brain recognises French as foreign, it just throws all the random vocab from every language I’ve ever learned into a big pile and spews the whole lot out of my mouth at once, causing the poor person on the market stall to blink incredulously and mutter something about Drunken English Tourists. I tend to get my goats’ cheese and red wine anyway, but I’d like to do so in a manner that doesn’t involve me looking like a total tit.
As a general rule, we Brits are apparently seen as a rather refined, dignified people. Americans and Danes I’ve spoken to in the past seem to think we all live in smart London town houses and go to the country for the weekend – hunting and monacles appear to be optional extras. But there is bugger-all refined about the verbal diarrhea we spout whilst trying to make ourselves understood abroad. You’d think that we’d make more of an effort to maintain a little dignity when purchasing shed-fulls of wine from France, just so that the nation we’ve spent the most time at war with doesn’t think we’re raging alcoholics.
German was supposed to be my next language but as S- is fluent in that as well as English and Danish, there seems little point in me learning it. Besides, if I have French, we cover more of Europe this way, thus increasing our nomming possibilities.
Poor Bub – she’s going to be so confused by all the different languages she hears that we’ll be lucky if she doesn’t communicate in a series of wolf-like howls.