Monday, September 14, 2015

Towards fluency

Further adventures in my quest towards fluency. (I have long since come to terms with the fact that I will never be as hyperbolically fluent, as precise, as witty, as referential, as in English.)

Part of my continued studies toward fluency involves studying samples of native speech taken from my ambient environment ("eavesdropping"). French-speaking adults are often so soft-spoken in public that it is impossible to hear them, even when they speak directly at one. Children, on the other hand, have not yet been inculcated in the practice of public quietness, and so are audible. Often from a considerable distance.

I was recently told that a particular colloquialism* I am using makes me sound "like a child." Huzzah! I sound like a native-speaking child! Hopefully my language skills will age faster than realtime; I've never heard a child give a presentation about the log-rank conjecture, but I subway commute twice a day so I have many opportunities to overhear such speech, if it ever happens.

This post's theme word is fomes, "an object capable of absorbing and transmitting infectious organisms from one person to another." The subway is a fomes of microbes and memes.

*The colloquialism: finishing sentences with "... ou quoi", meaning roughly "... or whatever." I'm using it as a substitute for words/phrases I don't know, so my sentences trail off but still try to convey some meaning. Sometimes the interlocutor guesses and luckily supplies the word/phrase I wanted, and then I acquire new vocabulary and expressiveness!

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