The other day during a free period, the American girls who are on exchange at my school and I began talking (in English. I am beyond a failure) to a boy from our class who had been on a two month exchange to the States. After a while our conversation turned to music, and he said something that I had never really thought about before. He said, “It’s funny, all the French teenagers listen to all your music from America and stuff, but most of them have absolutely no idea what’s being said”. This point was further reiterated when, a few days later, I was speaking to a friend back in Australia and she was telling me about the German exchange student who’s now in our group (lucky girl!). Apparently she had been singing ‘Umbrella’ by Rhianna, and after finishing, she turned to said friend, and asked just what an umbrella exactly was.
‘Love The Way You Lie’ is amazingly popular here at the moment. Everytime I go into a shop it seems to be playing, as it is whenever I turn on the radio or a music television station. The lyrics are confusing enough to me: “Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, well that’s alright because I like the way it hurts”?! What’s up with that?!
(side note, how funny is this meme from tumblr?!)
I’ve found that non-native English speakers tend to take everything very literally (as I most likely do in French), so if they manage to understand what is being said, they probably think the poor girl is actually on fire.
My classmates, many of whom only speak the most basic of English, walk around singing all these songs that to them must just seem like a jumble of noises. I suspect it would be like the time they made us do a group song at camp. It was called ‘Je Te Donne’ and was half in English, half in French. If you care, here’s a picture of our amazing lyric sheet:
I would stand there and sing it, and have absolutely no idea what I was saying once the French lyrics kicked in. Well, I had some ideas, but I was pretty much clueless.
I was always slightly jealous of people learning English. I mean, the majority of the pop-cultural world is in English, so they could just watch a tv show or movie, listen to some music, read a book… the possibilities are endless! It’s just so easy to be immersed in English. Heck, I’ve come to the other side of the world to immerse myself in French and have still managed to find myself immersed in…English. I just always assumed that listening/watching/reading all that English stuff would make them a thousand steps closer to fluent than us poor people trying to learn a language without those pop-culturish aides.
Of course, I then listened to some French music, watched some French tv shows (and a movie!) and am still attempting to read French HP, and realised that just because something is in the language you’re trying to learn, it doesn’t really make learning the language easier.
Actually, that’s an outright lie when most people are concerned, but I have the world’s shortest attention span so I’ll be ‘watching’ a French show and suddenly realise that I haven’t actually listened to anything in half an hour. Or I’ll be sitting in class and suddenly become aware that the period has ended and I haven’t heard anything the teacher has said. I think my brain tries listening, thinks ‘Oh! I can’t understand this! Let’s turn off now!’ and then switches to zone-out mode without me realising. I fell asleep twenty minutes into Toy Story 3 for this very reason. It certainly makes learning the language a lot more difficult than if, say, I had the concentration span to well, stay concentrated.
Spending six months of my life zoned out is not really an ideal thought, so hopefully I’m subconciously being immersed and will one day find myself in front of the tv and the episode will end and I will have actually paid attention to it all. And let’s hope this happens by the 24th of November so I can give my absolute full attention to DHp1…
frangipani princess xoxo