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a blessing and a curse

Posted by fishies Ottawa z4a or 5 (My Page) on
Mon, May 1, 06 at 19:41

Well, I've been (tentatively) offered the course of my dreams: Religion and Popular Culture. The problem? I'd have to teach it in french. I'm going for it.

Luckily, the course doesn't start until January, so if I do get the course (which is still unofficial and totally up in the air), I've got 8 months to improve my academic french.

Voulez-vous allez au discoteque?
Est-ce que je peux voir ce chemise en bleu?
Ou est la salle de bain?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: a blessing and a curse

Dear Shelly,

But aren't you of the bilingual generation there? Total immersion since elementary school in French and English?

You are so qualified you could do it if they asked you to teach it in some dialect of Ural-Altaisic.

Let's see how bad my non-existent French is...

1) Do you want to go to the disco?

2) Something about a blue blouse......

3) and everybody's favorite - Which way to the bathroom?

My one joke in French -

Something like - Why can't you ask for two eggs in French?

Because one is an oeuf......

RE: a blessing and a curse

voulez-vous coucher avec moi?
Je vais a la biblioteck detudy mon leson de biology pour mercride or something like that
(4 years of french in high school

Congrat's...quite impressive...Sounds like a wonderful opportunity

RE: a blessing and a curse

Je'taime Growhappy. LOL, that's about the extent of my French dialogue. Toots, I recognize the "voulez-vous coucher avec moi?" from that famous song by Patti Labelle and the Bluebells- "Lady Marmalade". :)


RE: a blessing and a curse

  • Posted by fishies Ottawa z4a or 5 (My Page) on
    Tue, May 2, 06 at 10:16

LOL - you guys are nutty buddies!

If I do get the course in the end, the biggest problem I'll face will be finding reading material in French. Most of my background in this area is coming out of the U.S. and has been written in English. The bulk of the French scholarship I've read has been the French poststructuralists, and even that has mainly been in translation. This means lots and lots and lots of French reading for Shelly over the summer...

RE: a blessing and a curse

I can see where it'd be a challenge! A lot of the academic terminology is probably pretty esoteric, so even if your conversational French is flawless, there'd still be some vocab to learn. I don't imagine I (or most other English-speaking laypeople) would know the terms in English!

I maintain that I know just enough French to be laughed at :)...but I remember important phrases like" Mangons au restaurant ce soir" (though I can't necessarily spell them right-- I don't claim that ability in English, either!)
My all-time favorite French phrase is, "Bonjour, jeune gens!" It sort of sounds like you're mocking the language when you say it!
Older DD did a home-stay with a family in France, and they thought the English word "spoon" sounded tremendously funny.

Bon chance!

RE: a blessing and a curse

  • Posted by fishies Ottawa z4a or 5 (My Page) on
    Tue, May 2, 06 at 18:10

"Spoon" is kind of funny, no matter what your native tongue is, really. Especially if you say it over and over again...

Well, turns out that I won't be teaching Religion and Pop Culture after all. They've offered me a different course, in English this time: "Christianity, Culture, and Change." Sounds like fun!

RE: a blessing and a curse

Well Fishies, I was gonna say congrats, but I guess not on the French teaching anymore. Might be interesting for ya to teach the Christianity, Culture & Change, no?

May I show off just a tad?

2) May I see that blouse in blue?

3) Literally 'where is" the bathroom, rather than which way.

Jeff, ugh, that's a pretty lame joke. Given New Orleans, don't you speak any more French than that? Certainly that old local "Laissez les bontemps roulez" ??? Well, maybe they quit saying that after H. Katrina.

It's been very many yrs, but I was a French lit minor in College (am a native speaker of Portuguese, so that helped my French a lot, but not the grammar', I had taken French from 8th grade on). Cocky me decided to read all of one course on the Existentialists in French. Fun but not easy.

Will go to my grave w/ the opening line of Camus' The Stranger engraved in my brain:

Aujourd'hui Mamam est morte. (Mother died today.)

(OMG I forgot how to spell "Aujourd'hui"). It's been just abt 30 yrs., yikes!!!

Bonne chance indeed!

A very rusty PG (Karen)

RE: a blessing and a curse

Congrats on your class. "Christianity, Culture, and Change," sounds like an absolutely fabulous subject. Can I be a sounding board from the right-wing Protestant camp?

RE: a blessing and a curse

LOL! Mentha, you are baaad! But don't worry - there'll be more than enough students in the class from all denominations to take care of that :)

Karen - French lit sounds so interesting. The existentialists... well, maybe you're not so much cocky as you are a masochist :)

RE: a blessing and a curse

It was worth a try :) I really would like to know some of the things going on in your head concerning the RCC. I bet I'd have a heyday researching all the little bits you could throw at me. :)

RE: a blessing and a curse

A possible resource could be our local university, the University of Louisian at Lafayette. We have a lot of French speakers here, many for whom English was a second language. Barry Ancelet, who is one and teaches folk-lore if I remember correctly, did what was considered impossible by getting his doctorate at I think the Sorbonne or some little rinky-dink school and getting it in Cajun french instead of the 'real thing'. Cajun french is like English in the Appalachians--sounds funny to the wrong people, but is actually rather pure from four or five centuries ago. Skipped all those homogenizing influences that television is bestowing upon them now.

RE: a blessing and a curse

  • Posted by fishies Ottawa z4a or 5 (My Page) on
    Wed, May 10, 06 at 8:33

Greenelbows, that prof probably speaks a similar french to what I speak - I'm Acadian from Atlantic Canada, and although apparently the Cajun french has adopted intonations and slang from the hispanic influences down south, while Acadian french has adopted intonations and slang from the English influences surrounding it, both have the same early French base - not from 4 or 5 centuries ago, but certainly from about three, maybe three and a half centuries, when more and more Acadians began leaving France to head to Nova Scotia (and before the expulsion in 1755). It's really interesting stuff, and it makes me wish I had studied linguistics. Nikki, where are you? Tell us how this happens!


RE: a blessing and a curse

Hey Fishies,

(I don' know abt Nikki right now ;>) ), but I remember something of some of that old French.

Aren't there some legends about a 'Rolande'? I have a vague memory of memorizing (guess not anymore) an olde French poem about him (he was either a romantic or heroic or both ...?) At the time I really liked the poem too.


RE: a blessing and a curse

Shelly, I knew that was where they came from, and if I'd been functional--which I don't seem to be much of the time now!--I'd have remembered it wasn't quite that long ago. A number of the local Cajuns--obviously really Acadians!--have been going up there and meeting people who look like, and often are, relatives, sometimes just on the streets. It's really interesting--as a non-native I feel like a bit of a voyeur sometimes, but it's great to hear the stories, and people here are so warm and friendly they make me feel part of it. My mother got a couple degrees in French back when it was pretty unusual for a woman to go to college, so I have a great interest in the language (but I don't speak it. Understand a little. Mother said she realized too late that she expected me to know it just 'cause she did, and made me feel a bit incompetent. Hard to be a mother!)

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