Wednesday, February 12, 2014

French Test

I'm in the midst of a French Test. I'm trying to get an honest assessment of my current level so that I can be more intentional about continuing to progress.

Yesterday I took the Oral Expression part of the test, today I took the Written Expression part. I still have to do Oral and Written Comprehension. Some days I think that I am never going to get this language down.

The funny thing is, many mono-ligual American would consider us to be bilingual at this point. We are not. Chandler is the closest, and even he thinks he has a long way to go.

Language learning has its benefits, though. It helps me to stay humble. It helps me to stay dependent on others. It helps me not to take myself too seriously. It helps me to think before I speak, and it definitely keeps me from rambling on. I don't waste words in French, I only say what is absolutely necessary!

Yesterday I was on a three hour conference call with three French men. I barely uttered a peep. At the end, one of the guys said, "Hey, we didn't hear much from you." Another guy said, "That's because we kept cutting her off!" Which was true. But in English, I'm pretty sure I would've made myself heard. I'd have pushed harder. I'd have spoken louder. In French, I'm much better at shutting up. 

The funny thing is, there was one point where I thought something really needed to be said, so I kept trying to get a word in edgewise. I tried and tried to express one pertinent thought, and I couldn't get a break. After 15 minutes of this, one of the guys finally said the very thing that I had been trying to say. I sat back satisfied. It turns out that I really didn't care who got credit for idea, I just knew the idea would be helpful and I wanted it to get shared. Which makes me wonder if I might even be a nicer person in French than I am in English.

So no matter what results I get on this French Test, I'll still keep working on it. But I hope that as my skills progress, I'll be able to keep what my ineptness has taught me.

There really is beauty in weakness. 

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