Having had a few discouraging weeks in regards to French, I’ve lately been doing a lot of praying about it. It hit me the other day as I was walking on campus how the God I praise for creation is also the most perfect linguist in the universe. This was amazing to me especially since over the past year or so my interests have most decidedly turned to studying words especially those in a French. So, I have begun asking him for special grace as I try to work on hopefully one day becoming nearly fluent in French. Especially, as I am having to deal with one of my worst experiences with a professor in my entire college career so far.
However, I still do find French especially fascinating while at the same time incredibly annoying. For example, French is extremely precise in how it describes things and expresses things. This is why French was used in treaties and business contracts in previous centuries because it was so precise. The other problem: learning it. Being a native English speaker I’m used to having about five ways of saying the same thing. Not so, in French usually. On one of my last written exams which I’d rather forget really, my French prof stated that one of my biggest problems in my writing was having too much of an English influence on word order and choice. Wonder why….
In addition to this, there is the strict detail of pronouncing words correctly, there’s a particular rhythm to it and particular lilts and pauses. I had one professor in France beat out a rhythm on a table trying to get us to say a sentence properly. However, thankfully I have been blessed with a very creative conversation professor here who makes it more fun to get through the hurdles and expected mistakes of learning French. Recently, he was pointing out the proper way of pronouncing “les grenouilles” the word for frog and said that the French like to use this word to test how well you can speak their language. My prof then said that to get back at them you can ask them to say “throw these there” to see how well their English is since the French have a very hard time pronouning the “th” sound. So, it would probably sound something like “zow zeeze zare” if they tried to say it. I shall certainly have to remember that next time I go abroad.
My quote for today is actually French related (as it is in French), but I shall provide a simple translation. This is the first four lines of the prologue of the lais Guigemar from the Lais of Marie de France. Didn’t care for the story so much, but did like this little gold nugget:Quand Dieu vous a donné la science et un talent de conteur, il ne faut pas se taire ni se cacher mais se montre sans hésitation.
Basically, the author is saying that when God has given you the talent to do something, it is not necessary to quiet it or hide it, but that it should be shown/used without hesitation. What talents do you have? Are you using them to glorify him by letting your light shine without hesitation?