https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mme.G

I got to speak a little French in an African store in Detroit.

I was away from Duolingo for over a week because I had no computer access. (I traveled to Michigan for a family wedding and a baby naming ceremony.) Walking back to my hotel in Detroit I noticed an African shop and I thought I might find a present for the baby who was being celebrated or his mother there. It turned out to be a charming little boutique with swales of cloth; bottles of scent; rolls of beads; and also some goatskin scrolls on the walls with sayings in English and French. The scrolls mainly celebrated marriage, and one of them was clearly Muslim in that it called on Allah to bless the family. (I believe that that scroll used the word "ménage", meaning household, as opposed to most of the others which were focused only on weddings and used the word "mariage".)

I had spent a long time in the store and eventually got into a conversation with a woman who had a child with her. She said that his father was teaching him Igbo, which she did not speak. She confessed that she did, however, speak Mandarin Chinese, which she had studied at school! I asked if she had ever been to China and she said no. I told her about my cousin's son who had been unable to get into the Spanish class he wanted and who had been forced to take Chinese instead. It led to his teaching in China before going on to get his MBA.

After the nice woman left I asked the owner about the scrolls he had in French, which made me ask if he spoke French, which I assumed he did. We started to speak French and it flowed very smoothly except for my forgetting how to say "1977" . Dates used to roll off my tongue, but it didn't that day. :-)

The shop owner spoke about seven different African languages as well as French and English. He asked me what languages I spoke and I said, "J'ai étudié francais, espagnol, italien, allemand, at j'ai commencé tcheque mais je ne parle qu'anglais."

I felt very good about the conversation, though. I may not have been-I wasn't-fluent, but i was at ease and able to converse comfortably. I do credit Duolngo with making me less rusty than I would have been a month ago!

September 7, 2019

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dorothy799906

Mille neuf cent soixante- dix-sept (1977)

September 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

To her credit, that must be the hardest number to say in French! :-)

September 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/42Sean

Anything in the 90's is even harder! Unless you're using Swiss French, I love the nonante for ninety

September 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mme.G

Tu es vraiment gentil(le). Je sais que ca ce n'est pas vrai!

September 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mme.G

Merci, Dorothy...ou grazie...mais maintenant tu es en retard! Le patron m'a dit la meme chose dans sa boutique!

September 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/petermoldovia

That's great! Keep it up.

September 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mme.G

Merci bien, Peter. :-)

September 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mng22

What a wonderful story!

September 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mme.G

Merci beaucoup, mng22.

September 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mng22

de rien, MMe.G! I think I've been in that store... (I live just across the border from Detroit, in Canada).

September 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Snowdriftwjc

I went over to New Caledonia for 10 days to practise my French. My friend made me order lunch or dinner wherever we went. It was so satisfying to speak French and be understood. Yet, back at home in my French class, I panic and cannot remember the most simple words or phrases, I just freeze. I’ve given up my class for the rest of the year.

September 14, 2019
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