Is that French?

Monday was day of the dead and so there was no class. I am paying to have someone teach me French and yet I am relieved when class was cancelled. There is something wrong with that. It is a lot like the Lord giving us commandments, telling us we HAVE to do something, that for our own good. “I command you to do things that will make you happy” Well I diverge a little. So we didn’t have class on Monday so we had a makeup class today in the afternoon. I really like class. Today I learned a few things. First is that spoken French and written French are not the same. I asked Valerie (our teacher) if people would understand us if we spoke like written French and she said that they would, but we might not understand them. For example I learned a new French word chui. It is just a way of saying Je suis or I am. I guess it is common enough that it is worth mentioning in a French class. I know we have our own words like ‘sup, but this is evidently not slang. Valerie said that a lot depended on the environment you are in i.e. a business meeting or at a friend’s house. Another phrase I learned today was Bon Courage. We had would delivered to us yesterday and after dumping the load in our yard the man said “Bon Courage” I didn’t know what that meant. Did it mean I feel sorry for you because you have a lot of work ahead of you in moving all of this wood into the garage? I didn’t know. I thought that maybe it meant Good Luck, but I knew the way to say that was Bon Chance. So I asked Valerie today the difference and she said that there was a big difference, but they both mean Good Luck. Bon Chance is like “I hope you are lucky” as if you were rolling dice. The other was more positive and saying “I hope you are successful in your efforts” Both essentially mean good luck, but with a big difference that the French would not mistake. When we were roll playing and asking directions I added Bon Chance at the end of our conversation. I understand why she laughed now. I thought I was saying good luck finding the place you are looking for. What I said was I hope you are lucky enough to stumble upon the address you are looking for because the directions I gave you are not going to help. I should have said Bon Courage. Tonight when I said the prayer everyone laughed because when I panic (we are trying to say our prayers in French) the only thing that comes to mind is Spanish. So it sounds like I am trying to speak French with a Spanish accent. Poor McKala is now the most tortured child. She feels like here teachers expect her to understand more than she does. I feel bad that it is painful, but there is no avoiding the pain if she is to learn French. This is really hard.

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