I am completely over-using one particular French expression. Finding myself at a loss for more complex sentence structures due to the fact that I really only know the present tense of verbs and my knowledge of any other vocabulary is still quite small (I do know all my fruits and vegetables, however), I reach for this one phrase time and time again.
The other day I realized I was saying ‘C’est bon’ just one too many times. That night I asked my Frenchman if there were any other expressions I could use so that I didn’t sound like a complete git. He mentioned that I could say ‘c’est cool’ or ‘c’est o.k.’ or ‘c’est tres bon’. I told him that was already trying to mix it up a bit by including these phrases in my scattered French conversations. Wasn’t there anything else? Well, ‘c’est bon’ is ‘c’est bon’. O.K. then, ‘c’est bon’.
Language has become both a joy and a hindrance to me. I have always considered myself to be quite the chatty person, but now, I find that even I don’t understand what is coming out of my mouth. When speaking with our housekeeper, who does not speak any English, I attempt to use as much French as I can. However, when I pause my jolting, painfully slow speech pattern to find the next word that I’m looking for, my brain always seems to immediately find the German word that I learned so many years ago.
I am now speaking to her in this bizarre mix of French with a few German words thrown in and English used to fill in any major gaps. The look on her face when I finish my bold effort says all I need to know. Never attempt to speak with anyone outside the house. They will surely think I’ve fallen in the deep end.
But, it is fun to learn new ways of expression and it is helping to keep the old grey matter ticking. It’s been said that learning new and challenging things keeps the brain young and healthy. If that’s the case, I’ve got one young noggin at the moment – venturing into pre-pubescent, I would imagine.
Still, nothing can compare to the ease of blabbing with someone who comes from the same place that you do. Not having to pay attention to grammar or sentence structure or slang, the words just fall out of my mouth in a lovely ease. But, as a recent, rapid conversation with my Frenchman proves, the chance of having ‘lost in translation’ moments will most certainly always occur.
Me: Hiya, my darling love bug! I am totally psyched and giddy as a kitty because I have established most excellent relations with someone that can answer all my Tamil questions about the island. A direct line to the Hindi-411 info source. How kick-ass is that?!
Me: Hi. Isn’t that way cool? Did you understand what I just said?
Frenchman: Yes, the island.