Where was Google when we needed it?
If only I had had Google when I was in college, I may have fared better in French.
During my high school days, I was not an over achiever, and signing up to take a foreign language seemed unnecessary. Back in those days, high schoolers were not required to succumb to learning how to speak another tongue, so I saw no reason to “Parlez-vous français.”
I regret this shortsightedness while at Warren Central because for one, I missed out on having a teacher like Mrs. Gorney.
She taught French at the school, and many of my friends would rave on about her teaching skills and how they had so much fun in her class.
I now know all their glowing reports were accurate because after I became a grown-up, I became friends with Debbie.
Another reason I wish I had been astute enough to take a language class in high school is because my college major required four semesters of a foreign language.
I vividly remember that first day of French at Mississippi State.
I lucked out and had gotten the head of the department as my professor. This woman, who was quite eccentric looking, apparently assumed we had all taken French in high school and immediately began speaking to us in French.
Well, moi was totally lost.
I do not know how I passed the class. Thinking back, aside from that first day, I do not remember anything.
Needless to say, the remaining three semesters were just as rough.
This week I started reading “The Muralist” by B. A. Shapiro.
The novel melds fictional and historical figures, which is a twist I find intriguing.
Upon reading the first chapter, the story referenced artists with whom I was not familiar, so I grabbed my handy dandy iPhone from the nightstand and Googled them.
Images of their art pieces popped right up.
I was excited to get a visual along with the printed word, and I was also feeling pretty proud that my knowledge base had just expanded.
So when I got to chapter two which was titled “Alizée,” the name of a character in the book, I decided I wanted to know the accurate pronunciation of the woman’s name before I went any further
So once again I turned to Google.
Needless to say, I was elated to find that in addition to the pronunciation spelling, there was a website that audibly pronounced the name for me to hear.
I had to listen several times, intently, until my ear grew accustomed to the French accent, and then to reinforce the name, I repeated Alizée several times.
Because I am not adept with the French accent (remember college?), I forgot the intonation before I turned the page even after repeating the character’s name over and over. So I picked up my phone again.
I am determined to say Alizée correctly by the time I finish the book, and with Google’s help I know I will.
It is too bad this baby boomer did not have Google’s search technology while in college.
Who knows, learning French may have been easier for me, and maybe I would be living in Paris.
C’est la vie.
Terri Cowart Frazier is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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