Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Il Est Heureux, or EE EH EUH EUH


Today I had my first pronunciation class. It's a little different than I'd envisioned. Instead of talking, we listen. A lot. And I'm super into it.

Our prof's name is Laure and today she was wearing a baggy tie-dyed t-shirt with a wolf on it. Her hair is short and lacks any discernible style. She doesn't wear make-up but she does have wire-rimmed glasses. I love it. It is the plain look of a person who is obviously free of earthly concerns. She's got bigger fish to fry, like how to make a roomful of thick-tongued vagrants trill the songbird beauty of the French language. Today it was the difference between whether an "e" is "ouvert" ("EUHHHH") ou "ferme" ("EWWWWWE").

Laure is like an animated marionnette with a French "Hooked on Phonics" soundtrack on blast as she tries to rouse a catatonic audience that is shell-shocked and afraid of what gutteral utterances lie dormant within. Every sound that emanates from her dynamically flexible face is exaggerated by physical gestures, like sign language for a group of wordless, helpless people - us.

"Il est heureux" becomes "EE EE EUH EUH" as she demonstrates the difference between the sounds, bouncing as she enunciates each syllable.

Today, during the break, I saw her lope by me towards the staff washroom. She walks like a teenage boy being called to dinner, but with gusto. She smiles at everyone and I noticed that incongruously, she wears heels! Granted, they're chunky heels but I almost wanted to give her the Birks off my feet. I really feel they would complete her ensemble.

In class she is extremely encouraging, exclaiming, "TRES BIEN!" or "BRAVO!" for every little correct answer. Considering that I think I'm in the wrong level (everything's a bit too easy) I feel like a cheat being showered in undeserved praise. I don't care. Considering how hard it is to get my basic thoughts out in other scenarios, I'm going to stay put, both for how her coddling affection soothes the ego and the way her class feels like being at a show all afternoon. I am completely charmed!

2 Comments:

Blogger mad said...

your anecdotes are tres delightful.

and are making me beaucoup de jealous.

see, i need french lessons too!

12:01 PM  
Anonymous wendy said...

BEST TITLE EVER!

6:06 PM  

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