Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pourquoi tu parles en anglais maintenant?

Today I started tutoring one of my French students (let's call him Pierre) after a looooong summer break. My French is out of practice and his English is out of practice -- it made for an interesting lesson.

Me: Okay, Pierre, what is on this card?
Pierre: La glace!
Me: Yes, but in English. Do you remember?
Pierre: Urrhhhm, la glace!
Me: Remember, it's ice cream.
Pierre: Ice creeeeeam.
Me: Do you like ice cream?
Pierre: Yes.
Me: What's your favorite kind? Which ice cream do you like?
Pierre: Chocolat! Vanille!
Me: Chocolate and vanilla?
Pierre: Yes.

"Pierre" spent most of the lesson repeating single words after me and saying yes/no, but it is incredible how much he actually understands -- he simply chooses to respond in French, partially because he knows I understand him anyway. What I found most amusing was what he asked me about a half hour into our lesson while we put together a pirate jigsaw puzzle:

Pierre: Pourquoi tu parles en anglais maintenant? (Why are you speaking in English now?)

As if he'd only just noticed that I'd stopped using French.

Words I learned from Pierre today:

Pirate crochet - Captain Hook
le gribouillage - scribble drawings
les serpentes au beurre - snakes in butter

I don't know about the last one, but he insisted that he had "serpentes au beurre" for snack at school today. On second thought, maybe it's legit, because this is what I found upon typing it into google.fr.


  1. Katie - I'm so excited to read about your adventures in France! Ahhh! Really, I'm so happy for you! And this post made me laugh. You are so lucky you speak French - it's so frustrating not to understand what my Japanese students are saying in Japanese!

  2. Thanks, Kristine! I love your Japan posts too. I would love to hear more about how your teaching experience is going. Do you have the same class every day or do you jump from class to class? And as far as the Japanese goes, I'm sure that you'll start to get the hang of it -- just keep using what you do know and it will all grow from there. :)