Bien sÃ»r, Je ne parle pas FranÃ§ais, Je suis un Americain!
I can say this phrase in near-perfect French. Like Magritte’s painting of a pipe, it has more than one layer of irony.
I took four years of French when I was a kid. Two years in grade school – 4th & 5th grades, and two years in high school. Because I had to have two years of a foreign language, and I was a lazy slacker, I took the same two years of French over again. This was pulled off because between grade school and high school my family moved from Illinois to Texas. The Texas schools had no idea I had already been through the course and gave me credit for doing it again.
I haven’t spoken a lick of French since. The ability to read it hasn’t vanished, but there are always mystery words. If I listen hard I can understand spoken French now and then. For example if there is a hockey game on Canadian radio en FranÃ§ais I can mostly follow along. But if my life depended upon saying something in French right now I’d be a goner. It would be au revoir Chuck!
Something has come up lately that has me studying French again (too early to share, as details are sketchy, but be patient!) so I’m looking for suggestions for online or offline lessons. I’ve been playing with livemocha a bit, and may just spring for their courseâ€¦ but I’m open to suggestions.
Or even direct help from any of you Francophones out there!