Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 33: Vive la France...

...or at least le francais! For the first time in a least a decade, I attempted speaking French today. There is a language exchange group in Stockholm, started by a couple of people via, that offers opportunities to practice a number of different languages on different days of the week. Each meeting is led by one or more native speakers and the current selection of languages includes Swedish, English, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic and French.

The French exchange group meets twice weekly and after weeks of putting it off, I finally made it to a meeting. It won't be my last! To put this in context, you should know that I studied French throughout junior high, high school and college. Eleven years in all. Before starting to learn Swedish, I spoke French fluently and could both read and write it. But the part of my brain that is the center for language learning simply could not handle two school-learned tongues. Swedish crowded out French, or forced it deeper into the subconscious and, voila! je ne parle plus le francais.

There were three of us in the beginners section plus native born Jonas our leader. I alternated between bouts of frustration and euphoria as more and more words surfaced. Sometimes, I just giggled in delight when out came an expression I didn't know I knew. Every time I got a preposition right, I felt like doing a victory dance. So perhaps it isn't all gone, just lying dormant waiting for me to exert some effort and fish it out into daylight. Oo-la-la. Can't wait for the next time! Au revoir mes amis!

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