Monday, 18 June 2012

Lingua Franca

It occurs to me that I spend a good part of my day in a linguistic fog, or perhaps fug.

I understand bits of conversations, and was able to laugh scoffingly (I like to think I laughed in French) at the woman who told us all to move down the tram this morning as there was plenty of space.  About 50% of what goes on around me is still something of a rapid and foreign mystery.

And then I go to work and spend the morning interpreting the pointing of a finger accompanied by "Ugh!".  But that is exhausting and I've taken to telling The Boy that I do not know what he means, will he please tell me.  One day he will surprise me with a full sentence.  Probably telling me how I've given him a complex.

Afternoons are somewhat better linguistically, although the Big Girl often talks to me like I'm a simpleton.  This could be, of course, because she speaks more languages than me.  The Little Girl, despite only having a few words so far, is a very good communicator. 

Soon I start my French course.  I do not expect miracles of it but it feels like the absolutely right thing to be doing.  I need things to be much less foreign and mysterious.  On the same day that I start the course I have my job interview. 

I got a phone message from the Agency to say I needed to confirm by email the time they had offered.  There was a slight problem - I was at work and the girls' father was downstairs.  Stealthily, with one ear cocked to the stairs, I switched on their Mac, started "in private browsing" (kind of nonsensical now that I've broadcast it), and logged on to my emails.  Confirmed the time and date, stopped "in private browsing" and shut down.  All the while thinking he was going to come in and catch me.  It was like a spy film, but with no Russians or anything vaguely dangerous.

So think of me on the 27th.  Lots going on that day.


  1. Fingers are crossed. When I first learnt Turkish, I spent a lot of time trying to catch up with conversations. When I'd understood what was being talked about, every one else had moved on.

  2. It's a painful process. I know that in a year I'll be much better...but that's a year away! Ironically I am also picking up a fair bit of German from one of the mums I work for.

  3. I can really really identify with how you are finding the voices around you. That corny old thing 'been there done it' - well that was me. And, due to the seepage from my brain now that I am no longer in forrin, that is still me. But for a wee while I actually felt I spoke and understand quite good French - as you will in a year or three. Just keep watching telly, listening to the radio and don't watch or listen to anything in English. You need to start immersing yourself.

    End of lecture x