Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why My French Pronunciation Could Be Better

It is 6:15am. A light but persistent rain falls on the dark, winding streets of the old city of Fez. I trudge through the mud toward a small red vehicle and climb inside. A sign on top of the car says "petit taxi."

"Bonjour. Umm... Gare? Gare du train?"

The taxi driver stares at me blankly.

"Uh, gare de Fés? Gare Fés?"

I make some stupid movement with my arms that is supposed to approximate a train steaming through a tunnel. Trying to be helpful, the taxi driver starts speaking to me in Arabic. I have no idea what he's saying.

"Hold on. Let's see here."

I shuffle through my belongings as the driver looks on, half bored, half amused. I manage to produce a wet piece of paper with a screenshot of  Fez that I got from Google Maps. I point to the train station on the map.

"Gare de train?"

"Ah oui! Gare de train."

Isn't that what I was saying?