Transcript of the video
Hello everyone, I hope you are well. Today, I'm back for a new French video and I'm not alone. I'm with my friend Adina, who comes from Romania. Before you start, don't forget to activate the French subtitles, it will help you to understand everything in the video.
First of all, let's explain how Adina and I know each other. So you've been living in France for a few years now, but we didn't meet in France.
So, when I was a student, I had to submit a final year's work, a video, and with my team, we had chosen as a theme to talk about agriculture, about farmers in Europe and more specifically about farmers in Romania. So, we had to go and make a filmed report in Romania, but nobody in our team spoke Romanian. So we put a note to the University of Bucharest to see if someone, a student, could accompany us to do the translation. And only one person answered, it was you. And you accompanied us for 10 days to do the interviews and translate all our video content.
So that's how we met. Now, maybe I'll let you introduce yourself.
Yes, well, my name is Adina as I said before. I am 29 years old. I have been living in France for 3 years now and more precisely in the region of Lyon, near Lyon. I have been working in France for almost two and a half years.
Can you tell us why you came to France? So, I didn't specify it at the beginning of the video, but the idea of this video is that Adina explains to us how she managed to speak French so well and that she also tells us a little bit about what is maybe still complicated for her, even if she speaks very well, the expressions that she discovered in French recently, her favorite expressions and give us some advice to improve our learning of French
The pressure (laughter)
So can you also explain why you came to live in France?
So I'm going to tell you a little bit about my background before I arrived in France. I didn't say it earlier, I did an Erasmus semester, so an exchange to study in Brussels. So that's already a first step because I studied in French. I took my exams in French. I lived with French speakers. So that was 5 years ago now. After that, I came back to France, to a French-speaking country, to Grenoble, for one more year for my master's degree.
And then I came to France to work and also to join my boyfriend. My boyfriend who is French. We had to choose between France or Romania or another country to live together after a few years of long distance relationship. So we chose France together. It was a decision. It seemed the best for our professional life, for me too. So that's how I came to France, in Lyon, three years ago.
And now you're married, you have a little one, a little baby for two and a half months. That's it!
You speak French very, very well. Can you also explain how you managed to reach this level in French?
I had already started in school. You start quite early with the second foreign language in school. I was 12 years old. The first language is English. And everyone says: you have to speak English. That's imperative and the second language is not optional, but there is not as much pressure from teachers or in general from life, from the work environment to speak a second language. But still it was the language that I liked the most. And then, when I was 15 years old,
I started taking classes myself at the French Institute in Bucharest for 2 years when I was 15 and when I was 16. And it was much more useful because we did more conversation, more vocabulary and a little bit less grammar. And the second year, I have my teacher, he was French too. So I thought it was great.
For me, it helped a lot because French, a foreign language, whatever, from a foreigner spoken with an accent is not the same as a native.
And then, of course, the most I learned was when I came to Brussels for my Erasmus. Then in Grenoble, for a year of master. And now for the three years I've been living there, because that's where you talk the most. Where you hear all the time. You are bathed in a language, you hear it in the supermarket, on the bus, on TV. So that's where your vocabulary really explodes much more than just in school.
What if you had some tips to give to people learning French?
I think we need to talk. I think you have to dare. Of course, we will always have an accent, we will always make mistakes. We'll always struggle to make ourselves understood, to make ourselves understood, that's how we say? The same goes for jokes. We will spend moments, we will not manage to say really what we want. We're going to search for our words, but I think it's... you have to dare, you have to go for it.
You have to start learning to talk. And the more you talk, the more you gain a little bit of confidence. You get more answers. So you learn that way too, as you go along, I think that's what you have to do.
You can't be afraid to make mistakes. You have to go for it.
Yes, I think you have to accept that you're going to make mistakes anyway. Yes, it's not a big deal.
Yes. Even when you are a French speaker, you make mistakes all the time too.
Yes, I think so, but I don't realize it.
Do you have any words or expressions that you particularly like in French, that you find pretty?
Yes, there are plenty of them, for sure, because I like French a lot. So for sure, there are a lot of words. Here like this... I really like "poignées d'amour", but I think you'll explain better than me what it means. And I really like it because it sounds like "love apples". So I like both. And also because at first I was confused so I like both. And my favorite word in French...
I think I pronounce it very badly, but I like it a lot when other people pronounce it, it's poppy, it's the flower. It's the red flowers that you find in the fields, the wild flowers. And the love handles, it's a part of the body, it's the part that we have... I don't know if you can see it well, but here, at the bottom of the stomach, on the sides. And it is true that it is often, it is presented as a defect.
It's a place where you have a little fat that accumulates. And it's true that in French, it's pretty because we say "poignées d'amour". We make it sound a little... a little cute. We don't say it's a defect. We give it a cute name. And love apples, that's what you get at carnivals. It's an apple on a stick with sugar.
Are there any words or phrases you've learned recently?
I learned one. I think I'd heard it before but it's fairly recent. It's "tunneling" or "being in a tunnel." I think that... I don't know if it's familiar, but anyway, I perceive it that way. Other expressions, I think...
I'll explain while you think of other expressions. When you say someone is tunneling or tunneling someone, it's actually when you're in a conversation. It's really a colloquial expression. When you're in a conversation with someone, but there's really only one person talking, so it's like they're tunneling. You see, it's where you drive by with the car and it lasts a long time. And you don't see any light. Well, it's kind of the same thing.
You are talking with someone, but in fact only one of the two people is talking. She's actually making conversation, but, but all by herself, you, you can't talk. So, it can be a little bit boring.
Yes, I heard an expression two days ago because it was cold. I think it means it's cold, it's freezing. It's "ça meule".
And yes, it's to say that it's cold outside. Okay, I didn't even know that expression.
I don't know if we use it a lot, but it was the first time I heard it.
I think so, that's right. I didn't know it, but there are so many slang expressions. It's evolving so fast that... Well, you know, you're teaching me an expression.
What do you also find the most difficult in French, with the French language? If it's maybe the pronunciation, the grammar, the conjugation...
The verbs, the conjugation... No, I didn't find it particularly difficult. I think it's making the difference between... well for the turns of phrase. And that's especially since I've been working, because I find that in emails and in professional exchanges, I think it depends a lot on the environment too, of course. But the French pay a lot of attention to how things are said, to the sentences. It has to be a bit... Well, for example, I tended to speak, to put smiley faces, to be much more familiar. A language where you don't have to worry so much.
I find that in France, we use the conditional to impose things or we have to be polite. You really have to be careful. When I write an email, I read many times to tell myself it's not too aggressive, it doesn't look too... I'm not imposing, I'm not too... That's it, the nuances that you don't necessarily perceive. I think it's culture too, it's not just the language. It's also more difficult... I still have trouble with the masculine/feminine sometimes.
Because there are words in my language, in Romanian, that are masculine and in French they have to be feminine. So I still have trouble with that and I have the impression that there are no rules. You have to know if it's masculine or feminine, it's like that. And then I think there are words that have a structure that gives you a clue. It's feminine. If it's an ette, for example, I feel like it's more feminine. But otherwise, you have to know them.
It's not normal, it's hard.
Apart from the masculine/feminine, there are other recurrent mistakes that you make and you realize it. But each time, you are often wrong.
Yeah, I still do a lot of those, but I think the most common one is... I often say "I asked my mom" instead of saying "I asked my mom." Oh yeah. Or "I ask them" instead of "I ask them". So I'm still struggling with that. What else... Numbers, except for 70, 95... I can't do calculations in my head, if someone tells me a phone number, an address with a lot of numbers, a train number, for example.
I can't do that. You always have to translate to do the math. But apparently, I don't know if it's true, but I had heard that studies show that it's hard to get your brain to do calculations in another language. OK, I don't know if it's just me. But it makes me feel better to know that someone said that. But I still have trouble with that. And yes, the same with the masculine feminine, for example, I always say "a bath" instead of "a bath" and "bathtub" the same I reverse it.
Yes, I still have trouble with many words.
Yes, and moreover, as we do, maybe we understand that people, they don't correct you either. They don't say be careful, it's the bathtub and not the bathtub, because people understand, so it doesn't matter.
Yes, I think they're thinking, "I'm not going to correct her." It also depends on the relationship.
Well yes, yes, yes, yes, moreover.
And are there any sounds that I find really difficult to pronounce in French? That must also depend on your mother tongue, which is Romanian. But are there any sounds that are complicated for you?
I can't say differently the word "wine" as the drink and the "wind" that blows outside. And "twenty" also the number so 19, 20. I can't tell... For me, the three words, when I hear them... Sometimes I can tell when someone says them to me really one after another, one after another. I can tell, "Oh yeah, that doesn't sound the same."
Yeah, but it's true that it's hard, "du vin" and "le vent" are very close. So it's true that it's true.
I can hear but I couldn't tell.
Yeah, I understand.
Well, the "re" is the same, I can't make the "re" like in French. I feel like you have to throw up a little bit.
Yes, when you have sounds that really don't exist in your language, it's really hard to reproduce them.
I think that hearing them is faster, but you need to have a musical ear too, which I don't have. But to pronounce them, it's another level. It is more difficult.
Thank you so much Adina for sharing all these tips. And your French experience with us.
Thanks to you, for the invitation...
And for the videos you make too.
Thank you and see you soon. And I also say to you very soon for a new video.
See you soon!