Learning in Québec

My photo
I'm someone who began learning French when I was 53. I took a BA in French at 60 but wasn't happy with my level of comprehension (though I read very well). So, having really become comfortable with Spanish only by living on the Mexican border, I'm spending more time in Québec and near the border of Quebec, in Vermont, to see if I can do that here with French. I want to encourage others to do the same.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Missing something en français

The French program given each summer at Université Laval is worth your time and money — five weeks, much less expensive and better, I think, than most language study programs, certainly less expensive than going to France. And if you care about carbon footprint, well ... Quebec is an American neighbor. You could go there by train or bus.

FLE, it's called. Try with www.ulaval.ca, then keep clicking toward the summer language program. There are two sessions. Take the second if you'd also want to experience the Summer Festival in Quebec City.

I did this twice, the first time in 1998 and the second in 2006. Both times were interesting, but I was much more pleased with the beginners' program than with the more advanced. There's too much reading and writing in the more advanced program, not enough listening to actual francophones.

I remember standing in the hall in 2006 with Jean Paul Boisvert, who took the program ten times or so. Up came another person who took the program every summer, a friend of his who came from California. I can't remember her name, but in California she was very important somehow and quite wealthy, etc. etc.

She asked us how to say "I miss ...." and I told her it was Il me manque. She told me with all available hauteur that I obviously knew nothing or I wouldn't think you said I miss ... by It misses me. She got quite unkind with letting me know how stupid I must be, how little French I knew compared to her. (Very Parisian, that attitude. I'm sure it serves her well.)

The next day she told me she was sorry, that I'd been right (of course).

Mon appartement dans la rue Grande Allée, elle me manque. (I think that's right. Mais je ne suis personne, et je ne viens pas de Californie.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment!