I still remember sitting in my French 30 classroom hoping my teacher wouldn’t point her finger at me for me to speak since my inadequate “rolling r” was always corrected. However, I am hoping that even though my accent may not have improved, I will still be able to communicate some practical phrases to a French person and to be understood. And my goal is to develop some vocabulary to help me read signs, menus and perhaps a tourist pamphlet.
It was rather gratifying as I worked on Lesson One to actually recall some of what I learned forty years ago!!! Today’s lesson focused on asking another person her name and asking how that person is doing. The lesson explained how your choice of vous or tu was dependent on how well you knew that person. It seems a rather safe assumption that I am not going to know any French speaking person and that I should not engage in any casual conversations. This certainly simplifies what I need to memorize and eliminates my fear of offending someone if I use the too familiar “tu” when I should have used the more formal “vous.”
After completing lesson one, I decided that was enough for one morning, and I read from Ina Caro’s book, Paris To the Past: Traveling Through France The author and her husband have travelled France extensively but recently, she decided that she preferred to use Paris as her home base and then just take daily train rides to particular destinations. She lists these destinations in historical order starting with the Middle Ages, moving into the Renaissance and finally up to the Bourgeois Century.
By the time Greg came home, I was ready to eliminate our idea of renting a car and instead locate the train schedules in Paris. However, Greg said that he still liked the idea of driving in order for us to get a better sense of the land. I thought that was a valid point especially since this is our first time in France. Yet at the same time, Ina Caro also reminds her readers that “French railroads . .. whisk you through this maze of faceless suburbs and deposit you sans traffic jams in the city’s ancient past.” Another good point, but when I continued to read her book, she also described how you could arrive at your destination and experience complications finding a taxi since sometimes it was too far to walk. Even though there are advantages and disadvantages to both modes of travelling, Greg and I have opted to drive a car rather than rely upon the schedules of a train. Therefore, I think I had better assume that one of the practical phrases I need to learn in French is, ” We are lost. Please help us.”