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Practically the oldest friends that I have are from my youth orchestra or music camps some 10+ years ago, and perhaps one of the happiest times of my life was the European Tour of ’99, when we had been newly set free from the chattels of high school and embarked on a lovely trip, the highlight being a week in Paris, not without international incident.

My six years of French at that point served me well – I was probably the only one, besides Whitney with his extensive knowledge of cheese (I swear that man knows how to say brie in any language… which is probably … brie), that did not go hungry, knew where I was going on the subway, and was not an offensive American. I can say that those six years were invaluable then, as they are now, however, with the passage of time and the addition of German, things are starting to fade and mix a bit. Being the only one in our library with any experience with either language, I am often the one dealing with the music director’s German orchestras, filing rental agreements with French publishing houses – I am, in fact, a UN representative of sorts, however whenever I have to speak any language other than English it comes out as some sort of mixture of the two; I like to call it Freman.

Whilst spending a good part of the day transferring French text into an Italian aria, I was surprised at what I knew and what I didn’t. I couldn’t help but remember the ever popular skit from the hilarious Flight of the Conchords, which truly sums up French lessons as taught in America, or New Zealand possibly.

So the next time I stutter, conjugate my verb incorrectly, or forget the gender of some word – be patient, and remember, this is how French is taught.

Foux da fa fa

February 2008
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