You Say Tomato



To say that I have a bad French accent doesn’t even come close to how horrible it is. I have found that when I try to speak in French, as in a shop for instance, and the person isn’t looking at me, they don’t even hear me. For some reason my language isn’t processed by their brain as something to pay attention to. I have to get them to look at me and repeat what I said so they realize that this strange sound that didn’t enter their consciousness is, indeed, a form of French.


 I was reading a blog the other day-I read so many that I can’t remember which one-in which someone commented that it is easier for a foreigner to understand a foreign language when it isn’t being spoken by a native. I’ve started to listen more carefully to English speakers speaking French and I think they might be right. I’m not sure why this is. Do they speak slower, separate words more, speak more clearly? I don’t know.


 I had an example of this when Maurice and I were in Thailand. We were on some sort of little tour and the guide was speaking in English. I, by the way, had trouble understanding the guide’s English. Maurice asked a question in English and the guide told him that he had a great English accent. I said, “Wait a minute. I have a good accent. I’m American. He’s French.” It mystified me at the time but I think it was an example of a foreigner speaking another language not his own.

12 thoughts to “You Say Tomato”

  1. Oh, Linda, how true, how true! I understand French spoken by British people much more easily. Weird!

    I like your photos and your idea of getting “out” with them. Good luck! You’ll now have a new story to tell.

    Meilleurs voeux!!

    P.S. I’m off to visit Cafe Press!

  2. Hi Linda.
    I love the images you let follow your words.
    I have experienced though in France that as long as I try speaking the language, and the French know English is not my mother tongue, they really want to listen, try to understand.

  3. I can’t say I have honestly experienced this myself but I can say I do love hearing your stories and I am amazed at how many wonderful places you have been to! Great photos for your post!

  4. I absolutely agree – it is easier to understand non-native speaker in any language (maybe because they make the same mistakes as us!).

    On the other hand, my French friend begged me not to lose my American accent, because it is adorable (not so for the British, apparently ;-). Well, no treat of that, anytime soon…

    Who are those lovely, spewting ladies in your photos?

  5. Great post – so true – I found out about five years ago that by practicing alone by imitating French people (by imitating I mean really exagerating all the “r’s” and dropped “h’s” and stuff…) I really improved my French and their darling little ears perked up when I spoke. Now I get compliments on my accent – I hope they are being sincere and not polite. Hmmmm….

  6. I’m still listening to French tapes in the car, in which everyone speaks oh-so-slowly and clearly; then, when you’re actually in the moment in France, you find you don’t have ten full minutes to order your lunch! It’s a lot to process, both in and out. Those lions really express it!

  7. My students always tell me that when they speak English to another non-native English speaker they find it so much eaiser to understand them than when I speak to them.

    And I speak very clearly to them!

    I think it’s because they make the same mistakes, yes.

    I also find it easier to understand French spoken by an English person and it’s because we speak more slowly, we separate the words too – the French just run everything quickly together. As we do when we speak our own language to each other!

  8. Great photos on your blog, which I just ran into through comments on another one…

    BTW, though, I want to link to it but on IE I’m not seeing any title…??? Just empty white space at the top.

  9. Ignore the above about the title — although it did take a very, very long time to load and I do have broadband. Strange. Maybe because of all the photos (very pretty BTW)

  10. Hello,

    I must admit that I also find it easier to speak in French with english speaker… The same mistakes are done and the english accent is put in place on the wrong places etc.

    Good pictures by the way!

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