ABSTRACT

Assume for a moment that you have traveled to France and have just made a new acquaintance. Further, assume that this person speaks only French while you speak English but have taken a class or two of French in high school. You know some words but not enough to be proficient in the grammar. Imagine how this conversation might unfold. Perhaps your new friend will convey important time indicators by using words like “demain” (tomorrow) in addition to future tense verb conjugations. Perhaps your friend will leave off tricky verb, noun, and adjective endings altogether in order to ensure that you are hearing the correct root words. When you speak, you likely use few or no auxiliary verbs or anything more than rudimentary verb endings. You might suggest that tomorrow you two meet by the red house by translating that phrase using your English grammar as “rouge maison,” as opposed to the standard French grammar in which adjectives follow the nouns they modify, as in “maison rouge.” Furthermore, you struggle with French pronunciations when they involve conventions different from what you are used to in English, like the way French speakers nasalize certain vowels, or how they pronounce the “r” in a word like Paris (with a trill way at the back of the mouth).