Story of the badge. I arrived back home from work yesterday and the door code box was brand new… Shiny and silverly and now 1 2 3 was on the top row, and whatever I tried the famous “click” when the door unlocks never came. After a while the gardienne came out and told me the code been changed, and not only a new code – we are with “Badge”. Lovely, cause I never remember the code, its muscle memory open the door when I am involved.
So waiting to sign the “I received my 2 badges” form I got an envelope with the badges, and actually not thought more about it until I decided to test the badge this morning. Cause perfect time, no one is up when I am on my way to work so I could test and be an idiot without anyone knowing.
So I opened the envelope prepared to find two badges size like a 2 euro coin and out fell two badges huge as a lap top heavy as hell. Humongous badges, maybe made to hide behind if someone chase you. I don’t want that on my key chain, I have a lovely Mylène Farmer key chain for heavens sake.
Well… It is a French thing to take a good idea and tweak just a bit, just enough to make non French wonder, WTF? And act normal about it. Some things made the same way:
Doors opening “in”, drive on the right side but all pedestrian activities is left, call a baugette a she and not produce any 1.5 btl of sprakling water.
Todays power walk ended up in a few rounds at the fantastic Parc Monceau, and I returned home where the French homework waited. When a task in your life brings no joy only anxiety should you really carry on with it?
Learning French is still on my list, I really want to but the longer it takes for me to get this language gramma the more the anxiety level raise and I am more and more convinced that the way “Inlingua” learn languages is not for me. I actually so stressed each lesson so I can feel my blood pressure go up.
So, if Im not closer to the goal at the end of the year, I have to find another way to learn French. More classroom, more English – French tutoring (or even Swedish – French, much better). I need a book, I need to be allowed to ask questions in English (or Swedish) and get it explained in the same language I actually used asking the question. I need glossary books and I need to learn things I use or will use in daily life. Not how to speak to someone about Nordic Light.
And I really need friends to practice with, friends who can mix French and English, not only expats in Paris a few months and not planning to learn French. I need to find a group of French people loving the Eurovision Song Contest to meet up with and talk ESC, I need some kind of activity (call it a hobby) to do in a group. Cause seriously standing in a Bar talking shit and drinking beer is not a hobby, it might be an important thing in life but you do not meet people that stick.
This post kind of start to sound like a New Years promise… Oh scary, I do not like those at all.
Spoke with a colleague of mine, whom by accident studied in Jönköping for a few years and during this time only learned “Tack så mycket” (Thank you) in Swedish. The reason? As he put it, everyone speaks English.
Me “learning” French is in a way in the same place but the reaction to the phrase “Everyone speaks English” is a bit different. While in Sweden this is 100% normal, you don’t find anyone object telling you to leave the English and learn Swedish (this is of course only if you manage English) but here in France the reaction is “You must learn French”.
Why is it so OK in Sweden to manage your daily life in English but in France a sin? OK, I agree that outside Paris you might struggle if your French is bad or non existing but in Paris most people speaks English. Then of course… If they want too or not is another question.
I also miss anything similar to the “Lättläst på svenska” (“Easy read in Swedish”) here in France. Classic French books adapted to people learning French. I always get the “You need to read more” suggestion and of course I need to read more but seriously… You don’t start to read Moliere and think you will master it in a week. But a Moliere adapted to “kids” (more or less) might be the idea. Trying to read French books now is a nightmare if you don’t enjoy to look up every word in a “dictionnaire”, and doing so it takes to long, and at least I, looses interest.
That was todays thoughts on learning French
Björn (Whom forgot his mobile at home this morning)
As you all know I try to learn French, a language not so easy to learn as you might think. So this summer I focused on another language, English, and mainly to understand “legal English”, reading a lot of contracts.
I am not going to write much about those classes but I learned something new… The part of your brain “learning” langues is not the same part “storing” your native language. Had no idea. So at the end learning languages is to train that part of your brain to store more information.
I any case, this Thursday is my last English class and soon time for the French again. Or more: Time for the French verbs again. So upon recommendation I invested in a new book, the Bescherelle book. So now I think I have around 15 French Verb books at home. Crazy… And also proof that my “foreign language” brain hard drive is kind of full cause still… I cannot wrap my brain around those verbs.
Have a Nice Day
Since I now been living in France for four years it’s time to look into some of the prejudices against France and the French. So I turn to you all. Please use the form at the end of this post and tell me what you want to know is true or not about France and the French… Maybe more specific Paris and the Parisians.
I appreciate if you also include where you live and if you been to France and Paris.
Since my main followers are Americans, Swedes, Ukrainians, Chinese, Germans, English, Canadians, Dutch and Koreans it might be a fun task.
Then I will, for a week sometime in the future try to answer a query a day for a week from my own experience.
Thank you in advance
During three days I have been to leave some samples to the laboratory, samples needed over three days. And even, as a Swede, I think the system is strange to first go to the Doctors office, then to a laboratory and then back to the Doctor* (Much easier when it’s all in one place and done at the same time as in the Swedish “Vårdcentral”) I adapt.
And again, as a Sweden, I am more than used to the ticket system, you take your ticket and wait for your turn. This is not used very much in France but at La Fourche Lab they have a ticket machine and it is 100% impossible to miss it. They placed kind of 1 mm from the entrance so you run into it before anything else. To pass it you even have to twist your body a bit so no one in the world can say they did not see if your not French of course.
All three days now when I been there, and on repeat, you hear the staff say “You must take a ticket and wait”, and the room is full of people waiting with there tickets and still you have a second cue to the reception with people without a ticket, add that each number is called out and include a loud “beep” so at some stage you think someone in the cue without tickets would think… “Why do they call out numbers and what is that “Beeping”?. And if the the reception is empty without anyone in line talking to the receptionists you can safely bet around 50 Euros that someone will enter from the street, run into the ticket machine, look at it and then go to the reception trying to explain what they doing there.
How is this possible? You have a room full of people waiting how can someone even think they are first in line? It’s completely fascinating and one of the things in France that someday’s can make you go crazy and other days a bit of the charm with this country, but whatever it is an amazing spectacle.
*) The French system must be really exhausting if you are really sick. Imagen a 40 degree and be in need of running around like that. BUT they also have a good system for home visits (I been told) so maybe that is whats been used then.
And let us say it in real Swedish, “Det gick käpprätt åt helvete” (this is what you say when things not exactly goes as you plan it).
First of all this is the second kind of test I’ve done. Last year I made a Lilate test which was hard enough but at least you have a person on the other side so there is some kind of communication between you two. They can re-phrase if there is a word you don’t know and the person actually notice if you know what to answer, understand the question, but find it hard to express your answer.
The Bright test is 100% on-line and if you don’t get it with the words used the question is kind of dead. You also have a specific amount of time for each question so sometimes you not even ready to read or hear the question or find the alternative among the answers so the question is dead based on that. So what do you do? Yes, 10 seconds left to answer you panic and click on an answer whatever just to not leave the question blank.
This turned out to be a huge mistake. Now, looking back at it the best thing is to leave it blank and not answer at all.
The questions are, as said, set and do not exactly follow your knowledge base. In many cases they included words I never heard before or if heard at least don’t know the meaning of them. The same thing as when 25% of the classes are on line classes to do by yourself alone. You can’t answer them correctly cause you have no idea what they mean. It’s useless. And when it comes to the online learning you sometimes know the answer but write e instead of é and of course get a red result and in my word I try to find another solution and mix things up even worse. I have said it before and say it again self studies and this guy will never be a match, I need lessons.
So the result was as awful as you can imagine and even outside in the real world my French not as bad as I did on this Bright test. It only gave me the feeling of giving up completely and go for the option to never learn French. Frankly, in Paris it’s not needed in your daily life apart from interaction with Governmental institutions and proven today sometimes when you need medical assistance.
But I will address that in another blog post.
Björn (now decided to not even think in French for 14 days)
yes yes yes, might not be perfect French but hopefully people understand what I mean.
I have my test tomorrow and no high hopes for that to go well but during todays studies I actually understood I need to look at this from another angle. So I have some ideas, we will see if it work out at the end.
But I have to make the verbs my friend and not look at them as something that’s there to knock me down.
As you all know by now I try to learn French and this is my at the moment second most stressful task and problem. I really want to learn French… I have dreamt of learning French since my first visits to France in the 80’s so even if I never expected it to be easy I actually thought I was motivated enough the learn fairly fast.
O la la, not even close. And now I actually go backwards in my knowledge of the French language. A year ago I had my test and ended up as a A2 (not anything to be proud abut after then 3 years in Paris but still…), and doing a second level test a month ago I just learned I’m now a A1+, so I actually getting worse and I have my language class test on Monday and will get a new evaluation. With this speed it might be A1 then…