mon oreille

ear sculpture

Tonight during my weekly French Skype conversation with Philippe, I said that if I did come to Paris this January, I would probably want to take a side trip to Alsace. He kept asking me to repeat myself because he had no idea what I meant. I said over and over again, “Alsace. Alsace. Alsace.” Finally he exclaimed, “Oh, Alsace!” I asked, “Isn’t that what I said?” Apparently the s in Alsace should be pronounced more like a z.

Immediately after my call, I headed to the laundromat to pick up my wash. I told Millie, the Latina woman who works there, that I was thinking about taking a Spanish class this spring and that if I did I’d start talking to her only in Spanish. Forgetting all about actual conjugation, I added, “Tratar,” which means, “to try,” though I intended to tell her, “I’ll try.” Millie kept asking me to repeat myself. I said over and over again, “Tratar. Tratar. Tratar.” Finally she exclaimed, “Oh, tratar!”

So there you have it. I can learn all the French and Spanish in the world but people are still going to have no idea what I am saying because my ear and my accent are so terrible.

Merde! (Another word I cannot pronounce correctly.)

(Photo: Colin Mutchler)

2 thoughts on “mon oreille

  1. Hang in there Ruth! We all start out with your problem. The only effective way to develop an ear for the language, and a tongue is to speak it with other people. Listen carefully and mimic what they say. If you can, do it face to face, Skype if you must, but face to face is better. By the way, that’s how we learned to talk as infants. Imitate, imitate, imitate. And once you get the hang of it, practice, practice, practice. It will come.

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