Thursday, January 25, 2007

Repitez, si vous plait

Resolved to learn at least one of the two official languages spoken here in Brussels, I enrolled in French classes. Tuesday was my first day. We spent three hours learning the French alphabet. For those of you inclined to do the math, this equates to roughly 7 minutes per letter.

Frankly, I believe I could have mastered the letters, b, c, d, f, g, j, k, l, m, n, p, s, t, v and z, in well under the time allotted, but I thought it best not to rock the boat, it being my first day and all. It didn't take long for me, and the other students in the class, to recognize my problem spots --the letters "e" and "u".

According to my professor, who, by the way, is fluent in French, English, Italian, Spanish, Greek and ancient Latin (as opposed to current Latin, I wanted to ask her?) , the letter "e" sounds like the "oo" in "moo," whereas the letter "u", sounds like the "ou" in "you." Perhaps it's the bastardization of my language skills as a result of spending 26 years in Texas, followed by another 10 in southern California, and then a very traumatic year of communicating in sentence fragments, pointing and sign language here in Brussels, but I just can't hear the difference between the two sounds. Yoo try it.

Anyone care to guess what my homework was? You guessed it -- review the alphabet!


Anonymous Manic said...

Welcome back too!

The French alphabet isn't that hard. It's the conjugasion and the accents on the freaking letters and... I could continue for ever, but I must admit, it's a nice language. You can talk for hours without saying anything really. Not like in Dutch, you can't talk around the bush in Dutch for some unapparent reason.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Susie Nuanez said...

I remember my French teacher told me I wasn't "nasally" enough when I pronounced certain words...she obviously thought I should doubt by looking at the size of my nose! je ne se pas

6:49 AM  
Blogger Cindy Lane said...

Oui! Learning French is going to be quite the experience, especially since I have tendency to lapse into Espanol. Fortunately, my teacher does seem to recognize my Spench. She wags her finger and goes "oo, no, no." I think I am going to try just making faces when I talk in French!

3:46 PM  
Blogger V-Grrrl said...

I took four semesters of college French and learned to read easy French novels and write compositions in my second year.

I never learned the alphabet in French.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just an anonymous visitor also living in Belgium with a blog...just wanted to let you know that there are 3 official languages. German is also one, if you're ever interested in ditching the French!

1:28 PM  
Anonymous rod said...

I had 3 french classes in college sitting next to the hottest girl I had ever seen....i can remember one phrase: Elle est jolie!!! Oui!!!!

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Pierrot said...

e: pronounced like 'o' with your lips almost closed as if you were about to kiss.

u: pronounced like 'e' with your lips almost closed as if you were about to kiss.

11:31 PM  

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