Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> England and France 1997

Trying to read French: a digression

My approach to learning French is totally screwball. Instead of trying to use simple words and sentences, when I'm talking to Thomas about philosophy or history or science I ask him what the French for various obscure technical terms is; and I am continually managing to throw Jenny into distress by asking them if there is an equivalent French expression for some obscure English idiom. This is no doubt very good for Thomas' English and Jenny's French (and her English, which I fear she will forget if she stays in France too long!), but not so good for mine. On the other hand, I find I can read French with increasing fluency - museum and tourist signs in multiple languages are most helpful here, as is my instinctive effort to make sense of any and all writing I encounter. Last night I was curious about how French historians presented all the English victories like Agincourt, so I picked up one of Thomas' books on the hundred years war (by Jean Favier) and read its description of that battle without any trouble. But Jenny doesn't think Pirenne's Mahomet et Charlemagne would be an ideal choice to learn French on... I lust hopelessly after all the books in the shops.

It is still pretty damp, so there is some doubt about our planned ascent of San Bartolemy on the weekend -- apparently it snowed at 1000m yesterday! If it is too wet, we may head for the Basque country or the Mediterranean for more touristy doings. I'm off to visit more museums today; tomorrow I will go to Carcassonne.

Next: Carcassonne
Previous: Albi

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