The European Parliament Building in Strasbourg, December 2005The internet is a wonderful thing, but the reality is sometimes it makes us lazy. Having since discovered this great site called Worldlingo, which has a cunning auto-translate facility, I’ve been cockily ‘writing’ all sorts of things in French.

Last night this backfired a little though when my landlord responded to a letter I had written to him – in person.

Writing in French is one thing Рbut speaking and understanding spoken French is an entirely different matter. So there he stood, at the threshold to our flat, parley-ing Fran̤ais at a speed and expecting me to understand what the hell he was going on about.

Lesson learned. Next time I shall add to the end of my letter – “Veuillez répondre dans l’écriture” (please respond in writing).

By |2017-01-06T11:17:07+00:00August 21st, 2006|Strasbourg|1 Comment

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  1. matto August 26, 2006 at 1:07 am - Reply

    I experience this on a regular basis. Having lived in several countries I am now able to speak crap in several languages, albeit a maximum of two sentences in a row. True to my 3rd year school report that stated, ‘matthew has great potential and ability in languages but lacks application’, I reguarly start conversations off with great potential.

    The unsuspecting foreigner (French, Spanish, Italian, Mexican, even Creole and Emirati) is at first impressed by this Englishman who meets and greets with such linguistic aplomb, and who interjects with a perfect mix of colloquial & cool. Of course, when their attention is turned my way and the conversation continues it’s all Dutch and I’m either exiting with ‘hablas ingles?’ or just continuing in English as if that was my plan all along.

    Now where is my free Daily Mail ‘learn French in a week’ CD?

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