Saturday, 8 October 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Teachers

There were several teachers on whom I had mad crushes - I won't reveal their names to avoid my own embarrassment (!) - but there were also teachers to whom I owe my foreign language accents.

I was fortunate enough to have a Spanish lady as one of my Spanish teachers and a French lady as one of my French teachers.  They developed my accent so it was much purer; so that I didn't sound like an English girl speaking a foreign language.

In my second year of a bi-lingual secretarial course at college, part of the curriculum was to take a job for three weeks in France.  I was fortunate enough to be offered one of the top jobs: three weeks at Laura Ashley's HQ in Paris.  While I was there I got my ears pierced.  My mother wouldn't let me get my ears pierced in our local town, so I figured that Paris was far enough away from her to get my ears done... The jeweller was very kind, but afterwards asked me where I came from.  When I answered that I was English, his face cleared in relief, and he said (in French, of course) that he thought I sounded French, but a French girl would have screamed and had hysterics; when he understood that I was English, he understood that of course I would be stoic... So my French accent was good enough to fool a Frenchman.  Now that was a high compliment, I felt, and I was so grateful to my French teacher.

And I found that it works both ways: when you are taking French or Spanish dictation and writing in French or Spanish shorthand, it helps to have a good accent because then you can understand whatever you are hearing.

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