Parlez-vous francais?

My husband is an excellant linguist and speaks French beautifully.  His Hungarian-speaking mother and German-speaking father met and fell in love in Paris in 1937,  and two years later they fled Europe together on the cusp of World War II.  They took their common language – French – with them,  and Danny learned it as a child.

It happens I studied French in both high school and college,  but I must admit I’ve always spoken it poorly,  or as Danny would ungraciously tell me,  “comme une vache espagnole”  – like a Spanish cow.

So when I retired I was determined to finally master it with my handy,  French-speaking husband to practice on.  I enrolled at Alliance Francaise where I studied for an entire academic year.  Then the following summer I went to France for real language immersion with my teacher Marie-France,  and Tricia, Janeen,  and Deborah,  three game women from our class.

We had a fabulous time with lots of laughs and adventures,  and of course great food and wine.  My vocabulary did increase,  and I mastered much of the grammar,  but my ear and my pronunciation were still pretty bad.

So even now when I try to speak French to my husband,  “il m’ecoute comme une vache espagnole”.

– Dana Susan Lehrman


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