Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How to write like a French in 3 months?


If you know of any secrets in improving the writing skills for a language you pick up 2 1/2 years ago as an adult, let me know.

I feel ashame of my French level especially the writing part. This becomes critical as we are all looking for an internship, and I just couldn't produce a nice motivation letter or CV without asking hubby for help.

It has important consequences. I got kicked out for an internship opportunity while everyone in my class who applied for it got called for an interview. I know this could be from many reasons, the fact that I'm older than the rest of the class, that I'm married and no kids (company doesn't want to risk hire a woman who will get pregnant soon), that I'm Asian (the are bunch of French looking for job)... and that I don't write good French.

The reality is cruel, as long as I don't speak and write good French, I'm nobody in this country.


  1. Hi Bee Ean, hey, don't worry over your French. Just do your best, you'll be okay soon.
    Believe it or not I took French and German wayyyyy back in 1962 in UK.
    Come the French oral exam, the French teacher asked in French what I drink after dinner?
    I had totally forgotten the word, 'water' in French..then instead said, "je bois cognac apres mon diner". She laughed and knew I had forgotten 'water', but gave me full marks for quick thinking. Ha ha.
    I am confident you'll come thru okay...just keep on speaking French everyday, you'll be okay.
    Old days I couldn't speak Cantonese, only Hokkien.
    Then met my wife who is Cantonese, she English educated, but mother and some relatives only speak Cantonese.
    Gosh! I had to do a real crash course, otherwise how to marry her daughter? Ha ha.
    So for the next 6 months I tol her to speak only in Cantonese to me....and Bee Ean, today I speak Cantonese like born in Canton, ha ha. Just kidding, can pass la.
    If you free drop over for coffee, au revoir, UL.

  2. Poor Bee Ean...I can feel how you feel right now.My hubby said I speak wt an accent,that why ppls bully me.When I returning something bad to the store,this ppls give me hard time,the same thing when I call over phone to request something,the other end rudely snap at me.Hubby think bcoz I'm yellow skin,mata sepek and speak wt accent this ppls just push me like a loser!!.So,right now I try to talk back to them if possible and try to let them know I'm not a loser!!.One day a sale rep snap at me then I told her"don't insult mine intelligent "it's doesn't mean when I speak wt accent I'm stupid!!..hubby said Bravo!!be patience and you will will them over.:))

  3. c'est dommage que vous vous sentez mal. Mais il faut pas etre comme ca. il faut que vous soyez confiance en francais, c'est vrai que ca va etre dur au debut, particulierement quand vous etes en france et vous etes la seule asiatique. Mais si il y a des choses que vous ne comprenez pas, pourquoi pas demander a votre marie. il est francais surtout et comprend que c'est pas facile aussi pour vous. courage!!!

  4. Anonymous9:14 PM

    Don't stress out too much. I sent out over 50 CVs before I actually finally got a job in France. You just have to hang in there, something will come up soon.

  5. u.lee,

    I would say that our situation is a bit different. I have to learn French as an adult to in order to be able to work in this country. It is a question of survival for me. I love Cantonese so it was a pleasure to learn it. In my case I don't French but I still learn to speak it. The issue now is about writing. My American professor just admitted that he would never write as well as the French since he started learning French after his doctorate degree.

    Our problem is different too. I can talk to people in French, what is being judge now is my writing skills.

    Tu écris très bien. Cela fait long temps que tu apprends le français? Ma confiance est détruite petit à petit chaque fois on m'a dit que je parle pas bien français, que j'écris mal tandis que j'ai déjà fait beaucoup d'efforts y apprendre. Pendant un entretien avec un american pour aller travailler aux USA, on m'a dit que ce n'est pas grave si je parlais pas bien anglais, que je pourrais toujours m'amériorier quand je serais là. Mais ici en France, on m'a laissé pas de chance d'essayer. Cela me décourage.

  6. Pour moi, je l'ai appris pour deux ans a l'alliance francais KL mais j'ai arrete le cours en 2006 parce que j'etais deja au niveau Suprieur dont les cours sont plus les conjugaison ou machin et voila je me demande: pourquoi payer rm700 chaque semestre? Les gens sont pas gentils, ils devraient pas dire ca vu que t'es pas francaise. Tu dois te dire chaque fois que tu peux l'ameliorer, surtout quand t'es deja en france!!! Bon Courage!
    Par contre, poponabot c'est moi, pau-lynn.

  7. Salut Pau-Lynn,

    Peux-tu me donner ton email pour qu'on puisse se contacter? Merci.

  8. My former French teacher told us that we need at least 6 years to be able to master a foreign language to the native level.

    As for my course, there are 2 ppl who do not speak good french, namely me and another Vietnamese. I do not understand fully the class usually but I read the stuffs in English later on at home, so not much pb. I find that most importantly is to capture the concepts first. Honestly, I do make lots of efforts to speak to the French and foreign students in French and I do make it a point to them that, if I do not say things correctly, they can correct me. Then when I say something wrong, they correct me and then we laugh it off.

    As for writing skills, we are of a bit disadvantage as one year of intensive French is not sufficient to write something free of grammar error. To write, we need to read a lot, then imitate the writing style, before we can fully develop our own style. Long process!!

    Nevertheless, I know that in management field, the French companies look for candidates with flawless French, in order to negotiate with clients or handle a meeting. No doubt about it, if they choose a French and not the foreigner, it's bcos of the French level.

    BUt that is the French style. The French companies have too many candidates to choose from so they are free to set whatever standard they wish.

    At least I know that there is something we can do, that is accept the reality, and see how we can link ourselves to the job market. If we hit an obstacle, cross over it and move on. In fact, finding a job in Europe, we will hit multiple stones before getting something right. Even in UK, my friend who speak excellent English also spent 2 years before getting a job there. But he persevered and never gave up. Thats how I see him as my role model.

  9. Yes Natalie,

    I will not give up, that's why I still go to school.

  10. Bee Ean,

    i know that you do not give up, just discouraged. As I am in the same situation, I know how it's like. Besides self courage I also not sure what else I can do to improve the situation.

  11. Natalie,

    You teacher said that it would take six years to master a language to the native level. If in France the companies ask for prefect French and that's the main obstacle, would you want to wait 6 years until you got your perfect writing skills and speak flawless French (with an accent?). I personally don't think that I will write as well as the native in 6 years, considering that it has been many years I write in English and still I won't say I write as good as the native. I just feel that sometimes there are some obstacles that couldn't be crossed over. I'm just thinking that if France can't accept me as I'm even though I made the effort to integrate, then maybe it is not meant for me and I should move on to somewhere else.

  12. Anonymous4:21 AM

    La dure réalité de la France n'est pas que tu maîtrises bien ou mal ton français. C'est qu'avant tout, tu es une étrangère. Quand je dis étrangère, c'est tu as une tête non française, que tu parles pas français, que tu n'es même pas née en France. Le français de base va te considérer comme un moins que rien pour tout. C'est pourquoi, beaucoup décide de fonder son entreprise, et de vivre en communautariste.

    Désolé pour ça, j'ai quitté la France et décidé d'aller en Nouvelle Zélande. Je ne sais pas dans quelle ville tu es, mais bonne chance tout de même.