Home > French, Journal > French is Funny and it can be a Restaurant

French is Funny and it can be a Restaurant

If I started this blog as early as I wanted, I probably would have been able to write more like I expected to. Instead, this second half of the semester has been pretty rough so I’ve not been able to write much. I’ve got quite a few posts drafted though, so I’ll post them in time.

Today I went to dinner at a local quality French restaurant called the Blue Heron. This is arranged by the French teacher at my university as she always does an end-of-the-semester dinner party. I’ve gone at least four times now. I took advantage of this to give myself a French day, so on my drive to and from the restaurant I was listening to French radio using my TuneInRadio app on my smartphone. No Beijing Teaching Radio for today! (That’s my usual station.) I listened to both a news channel and a public broadcasting channel but both were talking about the same thing: candidate campaigns and elections. I ended up listening for a total of an hour and 10 minutes.

For the first 3 minutes or so, I had to put in some effort to understand but I soon got over that and was able to listen to it relatively casually. I was still missing a few words but I understood enough to tell you almost exactly what they were saying. I’m glad to have seen that my listening comprehension hasn’t gone down too much. This was again proven at the restaurant as I understood almost all the French that was spoken.

Something really interesting that happened was that after about 10 minutes, the sounds of French just suddenly….struck me. Especially as I was checking my pronunciation of a few words, I somehow, suddenly, found many of the sounds utterly hilarious. Ok I didn’t burst out laughing for several seconds, but I did burst out audibly and had a couple of laughs. Some of them didn’t even feel 100% subjective, such as a thought I had that the French I’s sounded extremely high in the mouth, potentially higher than anything else I’ve heard, and that struck me funny as well. After a minute or so of these mini fits, I made myself pull together. This never happened before and I’m really surprised it happened now and with a language I’m so familiar with. It’s hard to see it as just a weird fluke in my mood though you never know, I guess. But why was it? Had I been away from French for so long that a weird reaction was just waiting for me? Does my Chinese study have any role in this?That actually could be a legitimate thought because studies have been made that show how different languages sound funny to different people depending on their own native language(s). What about other learned languages? Not sure, and though I’m sure all this would be very interesting to me, it’s really not important, so, i guess I’ll never know what this was all about! Unless it happens again.

Now, since this post is too positive, I’ll add another little detail. I understood the radio for all that time, but when I asked the owner / chef what was available to drink – I totally went blank on the word for drink! Only until I finished my order in English did I remember it – and I kicked myself for it!

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