Going French, via China

Back when I went to Chinese lessons, my small class included a Spaniard and a Russian. The class was taught mostly in Chinese, but we used an English textbook. I understand English is widely spoken all over the world, but it still impressed me how many expats learned Chinese through English, not necessarily their native tongue. Thus, sometimes they had questions about what a word meant (because they didn’t know the English definition) or they would pronounce the pinyin with a Spanish accent (jiu would be you).

Now, I’m getting a taste of what it’s like to learn a language in a different language. I work for a French company, so I’m surrounded by quite a few French speakers. Every Thursday for the past month, I’ve been going to a one-hour French lesson, taught in Chinese. So far, we’ve only focused on pronunciation, and I still remember basic French from my school days, so I’m not really “learning” anything. However, the pronunciation focus is unlike anything I’ve done in school — perhaps a reason why Americans are notoriously awful at French? In contrast, I’ve been quite amazed by how my Chinese coworkers sound when they speak French. It seems they are better at forming the nuanced sounds than my former classmates and teachers. But this is, of course, only according to my untrained ear.

Perhaps I can start incorporating some French into my Chinglish …

Going all over France!

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