Which is easier said than done - in either language! Through all the classes, through all the attempts, though, nothing was better for my comfortability than moving to Haiti - a country that speaks French (well...at least some of the population does). Last time I was here, my impatient nature translated into me not wanting to wait for the translator to translate my English into French when out in the field asking questions to our health clinic staff. So, I just started speaking! And speak I do!
With Haitians that is. For Haitians, French is their second language as well, so it is actually quite easy for me to converse with them, making mistakes, speaking like a 4-year old, and all. And they love it when I try to speak with them in French.
***Short story - while shopping for paracetamol, conversing in French, Haitian man at the pharmacy asks if I am European. I say, No, I am American. He is shocked! But Americans don't speak French! Well, I do! And then he loves it. And starts speaking way too fast for my liking. But hey, he loved it.
|Dad, Mom and Me in Paris. I attempted to translate for them.|
You see, European French is much different than Haitian French. It's intimidating. Because I speak French like a 4-year old, because I am afraid to be judged, because my French is decidedly sub-par, I don't speak.
Even though, coming to Haiti has been the best thing for my French so far, there is still a lot of way for me to go.
I wish that there was just a switch for me to flick that would make me fluent.
Particularly because it would be very beneficial for work here. Actually, in my case, French is more beneficial than Kreole.
French tutor? French immersion course? Oui, s'il vous plait. Et vite, s'il vous plait.