January 26, 2005

Fartage

Since we're living in France for 4 months I thought I should make an effort and learn the language. I did French at school for a couple of years but hated it. I think the reason I hated it was that I wasn't very confident about speaking it in front of people; you have to get over the "I sound like an idiot" thing... Before the trip I started to use the Michel Thomas French course on CD and that seemed to work well; I started to learn words and phrases by listening to my iPod on the way to work. However, I still had the "sound like an idiot" thing to get over as it's far easier to speak the phrases whilst listening to the course when you know nobody is listening than it is to actually use one on a real live French person. Strangely, getting my skis serviced the first week I was here seemed to fix that problem...

Whilst we were visiting Lucy's chalet we discussed where to get our skis serviced. Lucy recommended Duvillard Sport at Mont d'Arbois and Jonathan suggested that the owner was "very French" and that he often made fun of Jon for being English. We decided that it would be good to ask for our ski service in French and so asked Lucy what the term for ski servicing was in French. It turns out that waxing skis is Fartage... Once you've gone into a shop and asked, in French if they could wax and edge your skis for you and they haven't collapsed into a fit of giggles but simply asked (in English) if you'd also like the holes in the bases repaired then much of the "sound like an idiot" thing starts to pass...

Once you get used to actually just trying to be understood it gets easier; most people here switch to English to help you out but you can just keep going in dodgy French and the whole exchange tends to end up like one of those comedy sketches where the news caster babbles away in some random language and occasionally drops into English for 'amusing' words...


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Posted by Len at January 26, 2005 12:25 PM | Categories: General
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