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I’ve just seen this subject discussed on Huffington Post (same link below)

Brits Abroad Can’t Speak A Single Word Of Local Language

And it’s true isn’t it? I often feel guilty that no matter how many times I go to France (I can’t remember any year in the last twenty that I haven’t been – even if only for a couple of days), I can’t retain enough of the language to hold down a sensible conversation.

I’m not as bad as Delboy by a long chalk and can ‘read’ most French menus because A) they are almost always the same no matter where you eat and B) I taught catering for so long and have a good grasp of ‘kitchen French’, but linking words and phrases I know seems to escape me. Unlike the 20% who don’t understand ‘bonjour’ and the 16-24 year olds who can’t even order beer in anything other than their mother tongue – I’ve always understood those basic requirements (in French, German and Spanish – I could always order beer!), I’ve even been able to book rooms and order food in French and German. I’m better at slinging things together in French these days but don’t stay there long enough to pick up more of the language, which I’m sure I could given the time.

Next year however, I will be making a determined effort to learn and retain more. Sharon has booked us a week of intense training at a language school in Sancerre as my main birthday present. Hopefully it will be conversational (we think that’s what we’ve asked for – but you know what doing stuff on the Internet is like :-)) as I just don’t ‘get’ grammar. Well, I do when it’s practised but not in abstract – I’ve done enough French language classes here in the UK to know that they (or at least the style of delivery) don’t work for me.

So it will be a week of hard listening and even harder remembering for me. Roll on Easter.

Me souhaiter bonne chance?

 

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