Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • I don’t speak French. I am recently moved to France, albeit temporarily, so you can see my dilemma.

    I try. I attempt. I feel embarrassed and frustrated by this lack of ability. Everyday, like an interminable diet started on a Monday, I renew my futile attempts but, by the end of the day, am haunted by all the linguistic collisions, the choking sounds, and how my mouth rebels at every newly introduced French word or concept. I feel as though my tongue is the fattest, most North American part of me. I want to turn to my French friends and tell them: “I’m known to be actually highly articulate, a well-educated person in some regards, and not this bumbling language buffoon you see before you…” (How to say in French?)

    But. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, I will wake up and start again. Muttering out the wrong ooohs and the inconsistent aaaahs, stumble into the words like a drunk, like a child just beginning to learn speech, as I try to make the French words settle in my stubbornly English mind. On occasion when I can switch an English word for a French one, it’s a small victory that gives me a hint of hope.

    I have always disliked that saying that “the old dog can’t learn a new trick” and reject it flat out in any of my philosophies. Who decided that? My learning years will never stop, if I have any say in the matter. I don’t, even given this challenge, believe that I will not one day speak this language that defies me daily, even when my Rs roll out like deflated cakes. It just means I will get over the humilities, the quizzical looks, and I will try again and again: I will start the morning with “bon jour…”

    My French, hard-earned, will rise up through a steaming marsh of meaning, a bog or swamp of sound, it will be brought out of me in a way that will make my claim of a French nature honest and fully achieved, like the proverbial butterfly emerging from it’s cocoon, untangling it’s wings for flight, I will speak French!
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.