How many years have I said that I would love to speak French? Too many. I studied French in highschool, so although I have a fair vocabulary, I’ve never really had to speak it. So it’s do or die! I’ve signed up for Beginner II at UBC’s Robson Square campus. I’m hoping I’m not being too optimistic, but I’m told they can move you to another class if you pick the wrong level. It would be embarrassing to have to go to the absolute beginner level.
When I was in France a few years ago I did have the opportunity to talk with a few people. I had a fairly long conversation with a woman in an art store and we seemed to get on okay in French. She either didn’t know any English or she was putting me on the hot seat! I even when to a salon where no one spoke English and was able to get a very nice haircut. I’m sure the stylist was very talented, but I also think my French was good enough to not end up scalped! Actually before I went, I asked someone who was bilingual for some help on how to ask for the type of haircut I wanted. I was actually quite impressed with myself as I chatted away in my limited and halting French. They seem to understand, smiled and laughed in the right places.
So wish me ‘bonne chance’. A friend of mine who taught English in Japan said that her students were very shy to speak in class, but once they went for a drink afterwards, all of a sudden everyone was speaking English. So maybe instead of taking a coffee to class I should fill my water bottle with a little liquid courage.