March 3, 2011

Parlez-vous anglais?

One of my friends from back home recently asked me if I still speak English.

If the French government happens to be reading my blog, of course I still speak English perfectly!! The French language has not at all influenced my langue maternelle (native language).


Unfortunately for my students, the question my friend posed is a just one. Do I still speak English?

I would be lying if I said the French language hasn’t left a mark on my abilities to speak correctly.

I can’t seem to stop myself from saying things like:

“They’re pretty, the flowers” instead of “The flowers are pretty!”

This is because in French, you pretty much never say what you’re talking about until after you’ve already talked about it. It’s all personal pronouns BEFORE the nouns.

We tend to speak the other way around, Americans.


  1. Snap! And I thought I was the only one who did this!

    I often say things like.. "He is where, my brother?" when I talk to my father in English.

    It's the funniest when I talk to English clients on the phone and they congratulate me on my English!

    All the best


  2. Our next door neighbor had a Spanish foreign exchange student. I remember when she would call home she would just tell her family to talk to her since she had a hard time going back to her native tongue. Before I read this post I had no idea you weren't speaking English over there.

  3. Keith: I'm glad I'm not alone!

    Jenna: Well I teach English, so while I'm teaching I speak in English, but with my colleagues I speak in French. FBF and I usually speak in French, and of course when I interact with French citizens French is usually the language at hand!

  4. I just stumbled upon your blog from your comment over at Jenna's. Damn clicky fingers. Regardless, glad I'm here. And, may I say, I'm jealous of your location. I spent five days in France in 2005. Five of the best days of my life. Hands down. Spent a day in Versailles. Yes, we did the Chateau, but spent most of the day walking around town. So beautiful. I'd move there, if I could.

  5. I'm glad you're a curious fellow! France is definitely beautiful. Sometimes it's a bit of a challenge to live here, but at the end of the day, I still love it. It really is a beautiful place. I went to the Chateau at Versailles when I was 15, but we didn't do the town. Now that you've given it rave reviews I'll have to go back there and do it right!

  6. I'll have to give you the instructions someone gave me. It was, basically, as you're walking from the train station toward the main gate to the Chateau, everyone else will cross the street to enter, but you'll want to turn right... and then there were a few turns, not a far walk at all, and we went through an archway and ended up in a Saturday or Sunday (I was jet-lagged, so I have no idea what day it was) farmer's market-type deal. Fresh cut flowers, homemade breads, it was amazing. And two blocks from there, we sat at this little cafe drinking coffee and eating breakfast while Peugots and Renaults whizzed by on the little one-way street. And then we spent the rest of the day seeing the Chateau and just wandering around town until the last train left back for Paris.

  7. Thanks! I'll have to add this to my "to-go" list for Spring!

  8. Just found your site! I love reading another American experience living in a new culture! I moved to Madrid, Spain in September.

    I am learning Spanish, and don't work here so it's slow... I try to remember the mistakes I here when the Spanish speak English... so I know how what order the words go in Spanish. :)

  9. K: Thanks for checking out my blog! Learning a foreign language is always slow. I think listening to the Spanish mistakes will help you out, but be careful! You might find that instead of improving your Spanish they simply worsen your English!


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