Excuse My French

Excuse My French

I’ve always told people that I can’t speak French. Even after six months in Paris, I’m still adamant to the people that ask, that I cannot speak French.

Lately (as in, over the last week) I have realised that, actually, this is absolute bull.

Seriously, I actually speak pretty good French to be honest. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I now speak better French than I have ever in my life, and know more French grammar than I do English. Yeah. Real talk.

And you know what? I’m loving it. Being able to speak and understand that much more French has relaxed me no end. I’m literally so zen. My classes are easier, my friends are friendlier and I’m just so happy all the time. This year is looking like its going to be fabulous.

As my grandma always said:

Going on holiday to a country is like looking into houses through the window. Speaking the language is like being invited in through the front door.

So, what helped me to this epiphany? Well, a variety of things.

  1. I took a French test, including a written and oral exam, last Tuesday and have found that I have gone up not one, but two language sets. Based on a test that I rushed through, the lovely people at my language school have decided that I deserve to be in a group of people who literally study French as their degree. Seriously, there are a few Americans that actually do French at university. Yeah. Take that.
  2. My mum came to visit and insisted that I did all the talking. This isn’t unusual in itself but my mother does actually speak good French. Nonetheless, the clicking moment was when a waitress in a café asked my mum if she would like a coffee and she just went blank and stared at me. Leaping to the rescue, if a little embarrassed, I ordered my mother a coffee as well as two breakfasts and a hot milk for myself without really thinking about it. Doesn’t sound like much but there’s no better feeling that being able to speak the language when your company doesn’t.
  3. My French class is actually pretty good. When I took my first language course in September, I cried in the bathroom in the little break because it was way too hard for me and I knew no one and nothing. My french was poor, my social skills were poor, I hadn’t got my loan yet so I was quite literally poor. This time round I’m genuinely loving it, can rattle off sentences without thinking, and have the bonus of having already spent 6 months in Paris so have created this air of Parisian superiority around me which I’m sure must be the most annoying thing ever. Whatever. I’m so much more confident in myself and my own linguistic abilities.
  4. I actually have conversations with my friends, in French. Like, actual conversations where I only speak French. Granted sometimes I have to ask for things to be rephrased or slowed down or whatever, but its a while before I have to break into English to get my point across. I’ve also started doing this thing where I speak in French and my friends speak English back to me. Sounds strange, is actually really helpful. They’ve also commented on how much more confident I am in French and how I don’t speak French with an English accent (yassss!) and my pal Benjamin even told me that I text like a real French person so…. yeah. Come at me, France.

I mean, I’m not fluent. I still struggle over verbs and tenses. My vocab is still poor to average. I still cannot pronounce my French ‘R’s and get teased mercilessly because of it – I literally can’t say the word Paris in French…

Seriously, my French teacher had to tell the class that us English people have problems with our Rs so that’s why I occasionally completely slur my words and my tongue falls right out my mouth. Yay.

This time round, I’m feeling good.

I’m feeling really good.

Has your hard work and persistence paid off lately?
Are you one of those super humans who can do a good French R?



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  • QueenBeady says:

    I actually said “Paris” out loud. Is it like “Parwree” how you say it, if so, I think I’m pretty good ?
    I am insanely jealous of your year studying abroad. Room for a little one?
    Bee | QueenBeady.com

    • Imii Mace says:

      Haha it’s kinda like that but you have to like wiggle your tung around – not too much though because they don’t like it over rolled. Literally a nightmare! And of course you’re welcome any time 😛 xx

  • Lisa says:

    Amazing. It sounds like you’re so much happier now than you were and that is only down to your hard work so that’s something to really be proud of, well done!

    Lisa | Not Quite Enough

  • Emily Eddings says:

    Well done you! I’ve always wanted to learn French and aside from the basics that I’ve taught myself, I’m actually taking extra classes in it at University next year! xx

    Emily – http://www.positivelystupendous.co.uk

  • Alexandra L says:

    Congratulations ! It always feels so good to be able to speak an other language !

  • The Nerdy Me says:

    Happy to hear that you are doing so well! It’s always 100% better when you can speak that language 🙂

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

  • Imogen H says:

    It sounds like you’re better than me and I study French!! But there’s me being adamant that I still speak awful French hahaha. I think my issue is that because I do it as part of but not all of my degree, I just say English lit is the part that I can do! I also compare myself to everyone else but there is literally so much variety that’s just ridiculous… one of my friends worked at L’Express for his year abroad so as you can imagine his French is F A B, but funnily enough my grammar is definitely better than his.

    Imogen // imogenscribbles.co.uk

  • Patti Blue says:

    Congrats, I’m glad to hear you’re doing so well with your French! The language can be quite hard especially because French people have their certain ways on how to say things and it needs some time to get used to it. And what a lovely saying from your grandma. I never heard that, but it’s so true!
    Oh and for the “r” issue. I guess, for English people it would be easier to try and pronounce the French r first in words like “grand”, where you have a consonant before it that is pronounced in a similar area of your throat. But it’s just practice really!
    Patti Shifting Tales

  • B Shannon says:

    Aw I’m so happy for you, this post really made me smile, I’m glad you’re feeling more happy and positive, it has really shown in this post! I love the quote from your grandma, that’s actually soooo lovely and a unique way to think about it! Amazing post as always Imii xxx
    Becky Shannon xx – Life-by-Becky

  • Jennifer K says:

    Well done you! I sometimes feel like this a bit when I’m in the hospital – sometimes I’m hugely out of my depth, but every now and then it all just clicks and I speak and do ‘fluent doctor’… I loved French and school and I do feel bad about how little I use it nowadays. I actually found one of my old A Level essays today while clearing out, and recall my teacher telling me it was basically the same standard as an essay written by a French student – and that my handwriting looked French too!
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

  • Congratulations on your French! I actually just started learning beginners French at UCLA and keep on getting 90% and over in my tests so I’m really pleased with my progress so far I can’t wait until I feel like I really know the language.

    Abigail Alice x

  • Aimée Julia Cottle says:

    Awesome, it sounds like things are going really well for you out in Paris this time around! I’m really pleased to hear that. I speak okay French. I was pretty fluent in it through school, but lack of practice means I’m pretty rusty now. But I do still skype with a friend of mine who lives in France and we (usually) speak in French so it can’t be too bad! x http://www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

  • Miu says:

    I am so happy for you! 🙂

  • Katie Louise says:

    This post made me so happy! Like, I know you’ve found it difficult at times, but it sounds like you’re really gelling with Paris now, and you sound way more confident about being there. It’s just nice to read! I bet you won’t want to leave at the end haha! Move your family over maybe? 😉

  • Asti says:

    Haha, I can’t do anything in French. I spent a month trying to learn it on Duolingo last year before going to Paris, but as soon as I got there I was all deer in the headlights. It probably didn’t help that the main thing I learned in Duolingo was how to say “I eat an apple.” Super helpful. 😛

    Asti || ohasti.com

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