Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Foreign Language (12/09/10)
TITLE: Wetting Appetites
By PamFord Davis
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Fermer lah porte. Fermer lah livre. If I ever visit Paris, and if my words fall upon discerning ears I can accomplish a couple routine tasks, the listener will close a door and book. I can identify a feather as plume, for what little that is worth. Hmm, likely my best bet would be to hire a cheap guide to serve as interpreter. Tres bien, very good idea!
The French teacher surmounted behavior problems and distractions with the aid of Ma’ Bell, long before cordless phones and cell phones were invented. We carried on brief conversations on telephones; our instructor selected one student for a classroom phone and another for a hallway extension line. I felt the pride of a Carnegie Hall entertainer when she chose me for the hallway participant. Conversing with another adolescent, I grinned like a Cheshire cat as I strolled back to my room.
The teacher would cringe, and in disgust shake her head if she knew how little knowledge I retained. One phrase stands out among the rest, fermer lah bouche. Young children need chuckles as well as rigid rules of learning. We knew there were times to talk to our friends and times to be still, pay attention and be quiet. The French word for mouth is bouche; she said, “Shut your mouth!” I will make a note to avoid that in casual conversation; it would not be the best way to break a language barrier. “Crazy tourist!” Merci, thank you for your attention. Until we meet again… Au revoir, mon ami! Goodbye my friend.
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