Monday, November 24, 2014

Learning is hard in any language....

This year I have been unable to continue my teaching commitments both in France & the UK due to illness; indeed we have had to spend most of the year in the UK. Hence my Anglo/ Franco blog has suffered as I have not been at the chalk face. However I have been observing and considering the two linguistic systems & my fascination between these two great nations & their languages, continues.

It seems that when it comes to Modern Foreign Languages, its not so much about which is the hardest to learn, more about the perception of the learner in how hard that process is. We all like to think our language is the hardest to learn, and by hardest I mean complex and of course best. Thereby lies a measure of elitism as our 'mother tongue' has our highest ranking  and must therefore have the most importance.

I have tried to joke with the French children about their many language homophones ai, aie, aient, aies, ait, (OK they say grammar), aout (August),hou (boo),houe  (hoe),houx (holly),ou(or) & ou (where)...they still don't see the problem even when you joke about not having holly in August. And when I had the audacity to jest about having, 'two hands tomorrow'...."deux mains / demain",  the children just saw that as plain silly.

Likewise we English like to extol the complexity & difficulty of our language and a fine example of this was recently sent to me... This author of this poem proclaims that:

"If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world."
And after trying the verses, it is claimed that  a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud.

"Mais oui monsieur"....." We may"....