My First Language Exchange

My first language exchange!

July 3 –

I have been in France for 3 weeks now and have been actively learning and studying the french language. Let me tell you, it’s not easy! For an English speaker, who has studied a bit of both Spanish and Italian, reading the language isn’t too hard, especially since a lot of English stems from French. Speaking on the other hand…… not easy. I can’t quite seem to pronounce that french “r” and I end up rolling in (similar to Spanish or Italian) and somehow I end up sounding Russian. Well, okay. I also can’t always differentiate the “un” sounds – in-en-on-un all sound very similar to me, like “uh” in English but more nasal.

Anyways so I found a language exchange event held weekly in Bordeaux and decided I wanted to try it out. I thought it would be good to practice my Introduction phrases and also good to practice my speaking with “safe” people, aka people who want to practice languages and help others practice as well. I want to converse with people who are patient, speak slow and clear, and won’t laugh at me or just give up after a few minutes. I arrived at the bar hosting and ordered a drank to ease my nerves, plus alcohol is supposed to help foreign language speaking by releasing tension and making one less afraid of making mistakes. The lady doing the check-in is extremely nice, she tells me the process and gives me a table number to sit at.

There, at my assigned table, is a young man who I later learn is Moroccan but living and working in Bordeaux. I am super nervous, but I manage to explain who I am in french and why I am here. Somewhat. I end up explaining in half-french, half-English, but he is really patient and teaches me some words along the way! I ask him to write them on my cheat sheet paper, partly so I can remember, partly so I can see how they are spelled.

I talked to several other people both in french and English, well mostly English. From each of them I learned a little about them personally, why they wanted to speak English, what they liked, etc. I feel like I should have written out some sort of script beforehand, so I would be better and more prepared. There’s always next time right? I think as I improve my french it’ll get easier and easier and I’ll be less shy. À bientôt!

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