Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Time I Accidentally Dated My French Tutor

Il n'y a pas de jour. Il n'y a pas de nuit.
Did you know that once upon a time I was nearly fluent in the language of the Parisians? I say nearly because I never spoke it nearly as freely or as well as I speak my native tongue (which is English in case you were wondering). But I did just well enough to tutor some high-school students for a couple semesters and just poorly enough to accidentally go on several dates with my native-French French tutor without realize I was dating him.

Losing the learnings of a language is one of the more painful knowledge-losses I've incurred. I mean I just don't really miss knowing what a sine or a cosine is. Something about triangles?
Here is a list of things I recently said in French while in France and Belgium, which are best when translated quite literally:

"There is a man in the subway who is perhaps extremely sick. It is possible that he is of course drunk but maybe it is something more grave than this because of the fact that he is on the ground in a position that is very unusual."

"My sister, she has found some eye glasses, which she likes very, very much. They were at another shop that is not your shop. However, she is continuing to search and look at the other eyeglasses for to make a comparison."

"Do you have wine that is hot with the spices and perhaps the peelings of an orange? Do you understand what I am talking about? Hot wine? My sister, she has been searching for this."

"I think that it is not fair that it is not possible that you could help me to place this telephone call for the reason that I do not have the two-euro coin and I cannot hear by means of the phone in my room, which is to be blamed on the static that is on the line and is very loud."

"My sister is allergic to wheat flour. She will become very sick. So it would be best and it is necessary that you make the assurance with the chef that there is no wheat flour in the sauce of the chicken."

"Me?" (in response to "Your French is very good.") "Ah, no. This is not true. You flatter me, but it is baseless. For the reason that there was a day once when my French was fairly good, you know. I was younger then. But now, I perhaps can speak with an accent that is not disgusting or absolutely terrible. But to be honest I can only understand the most general concept of your words or when you speak very, very slowly. But, thank you nonetheless."*

What skills or nuggets of knowledge did you once but no longer possess? There are no wrong answers. I used to be able to walk on my hands for a pretty respectable distance...

*I truly never understood more than 25 percent of the average speaker's speech unless I asked them to repeat it excruciatingly slowly. I am just a truly exceptional nodder and pretend comprehender.


  1. You knew words like static, allergic, and baseless? I'd say your French was pretty good. I forget language too but have the good fortune to remember sines and cosines. You wouldn't believe how many times that's helped me out since high school. Or maybe you would.

  2. Dan: Allergic is "Allergique"; Static is "Statique". Your flattery is without foundation...baseless if you will... "Sans fondement..."


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