As you all know, it’s impossible to learn a foreign language without making mistakes. In most cases, though, these mistakes can be extremely funny.
I‘ve already talked a bit about some stuff I‘ve said in French that, because of my pronounciation or whatever, managed to change from something sweet to something hilarious. Here’s a little advice for those preparing to go to France – Avoid these mistakes :
My French fails
Being in a relationship with a French speaker can be a problem sometimes. In spoken French, the word ´plus´ can mean either ´more´ ( when you pronounce the S at the end ) or ´anymore´ ( if you don´t pronounce the S at the end), which I didn‘t know before. So one time, when I was trying to say to my boyfriend that I loved him more (Je t´aime plus), I accidentally said: I don‘t love you anymore – which is exactly the same but without pronouncing S at the end. Thankfully, this mistake didn’t bring an end to our relationship, as he knew what I was going to say, haha. But be careful anyways !!
Another problem for all French learners is the pronounciation of ou and u. They still sound the same to me , but apprently french speakers say there is a difference. In some words this doesn’t matter, but this can cause a problem when the only difference between two similar words is the pronounciation of these sounds. Like cou ( a neck) and cul ( an arse ) . Despite looking different when written, those two words sound exactly the same to me. So the other day, I had a really bad neck ache and I asked my friend for a neck massage. Seeing his surprised face I figured out I asked for a butt massage. I didn‘t get any massage in the end, haha.
You really have to pay attention to the fact that French usually don‘t pronounce the end of every word. So a little advice for those going to France : please never pronounce the word chat ( a cat) with the T at the end cos that totally changes its meaning.
But I don’t want to be too harsh on myself. I have to say that I‘ve really improved so much this year. At the beggining of the year, as part of the Erasmus procedure, I had to do an online language test to test my French and I got B1 level. At the end of the year I had to repeat the test and I am proud to say I got C2, which is the highest level you can get. Buzzing !! I must say, it´s been a long long way !
To be fair, I wasn‘t the only one making mistakes. At the beginning of the year, when I found it hard to speak French, I spoke English almost all the time. This also gave way to quite a few funny situations, like :
A friend of mine was talking about how much she likes Toulouse and how she would like to stay here another year as well. In French ´stay´ is the verb ´rester´ so she actually accidentally said: I want to rest in Toulouse one more year… Obviously I understood what she was trying to say, but there was another English speaker having this conversation with us who couldn‘t speak French so she was probably just thinking that that girl just spent the whole year resting, hah.
Another favourite French mistake is with the verb ´to propose´, because in French ´ proposer´ is used for everything and it mostly means something like ´to offer´ or ´to ask´ , so when my boyfriend was telling me that he asked his mate Tom about something, he said : ´ I already proposed Tom ´ … So my answer was just : ´Oh really, did he say yes ?´ hahaa
One of my favourite ones has got to do with periods. The word period is ´les règles´ in French, which also means rules. So more than once I‘ve heard French speakers asking girls if they‘ve got their rules.
Also try to play the famous British drinking game ´ Never have I ever ´ with foreigners. The combination of those 4 words is apprently so weird to foreign ears that I’ve literally heard everything from : never have I never, Haver have I never, Have you ever never, Never never never, and so on… Think there‘s seriously a problem with the word order in this sentence.
Since I´ve been here I‘ve heard a lot that the French can‘t speak English. Even though I named a few mistakes here, I was really lucky to find friends who speak English amazingly well, so whenever I need an explanation, they can give me one. This was also maybe because the uni where I‘m doing my exchange is full of arts students and language students so lots of people can speak different languages incredibly well. Not once this year was I ever in a situation where I couldn´t speak to someone because of a language barrier. So cheer up, those of you going abroad next year ! I´m sure it will be great 🙂
Obviously, it‘s human to make mistakes, and when learning languages , one cannot get fluent without making mistakes. And compared with other degrees, in the language one making mistakes is usually fun. Next blog I´ll be talking about the main differences I’ve noted here between French and British culture. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. My Facebook is Andrea Lulovicova and my email firstname.lastname@example.org Bisous