December 29, 2013, by Guest blog
A bientôt, Paris
It has been strange adapting to hearing another language on the train on the way into work every day, but seeing as I have been working in English during my first internship in Paris, the metro has so far proved invaluable. After a time I’ve been able to understand snatches of people’s conversations, and also, perhaps more amusingly, to hear people of other nationalities attempting a French accent. The Metro newspaper, sold by the perpetually jovial man in the green jacket outside my local train station, is also helpful, in that you get to not only read French on a daily basis, but see how the other side of the Channel views world events.
This is not to say that work has not been useful with language skills – thankfully the French and English branches of the company worked out of the same office, and so both myself and the other intern on the Anglophone side were able to get to know the French interns, and speak French with them infrequently. Ironically they seemed to prefer speaking in our mother tongue, though, which was a pity. Still, it was good for integrating into the Parisian community a bit more, and my spoken French being complimented a couple of times certainly helped. I did, however, have to ask for a translation of one of their compliments, which was a bit embarrassing. The phrase ‘vachement bien’ is lodged in my brain forever as a result.
[The French interns and I out to lunch.]
But I can’t deny that I haven’t used my French as much as I would like to so far. However, as I recently acquired another internship with more emphasis on the French side of things, hopefully I will be able to improve my language skills more than I have already. So far it has been all about the little things, such as the realisation that the French use words like ‘D’accord’ and ‘donc’ a lot, without a massive hike in confidence. That said, being able to understand the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special when it first aired, in French, was quite satisfying.
But I’ve now found out about Franglish, a network which allows people to meet up at various drinking establishments across the capital and speak French with each other, which could hopefully rectify the French deficit. I’m looking forward to trying it out – but that’s a New Year’s Resolution.
A bientôt, Paris.
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