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  • Writer's picturegarysjordan

Being Monolingual Must Be Endured


One of my regrets at this end of my life is that I did not take advantage of opportunities to master a second language. My mother's family was French-Canadian. The adults in our family conversed freely in French to prevent my generation from understanding. Paying attention and asking questions might have given a base for future learning. My cousin Joanne did just that and speaks French even now.

The school I started the second grade in taught French. A Catholic school in a town with many French-Canadian immigrants - of course they did. But I was only there a few months, and then off to Florida. Military brats move a lot.

In Florida I had an opportunity to learn Spanish, but of course we moved again. I got a chance with French I, ninth grade. I was lousy at it. My last shot was French II, senior year, but the long gap between I and II meant I was ill-prepared. I dropped the class.

The result of all that is that I recognize some words and phrases. "La rosa es bonita por la casa es verde." The rose is pretty but the house is green. I know the French for "How do you like our school?" and the reply, "I like it very much, especially the young girls." Zut.

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