Like many other new language learners, I have a big anxiety when it comes to speaking French to French people.
I can speak French to my wife because she speaks… very … slowly … to … me in French and gives me time to mentally translate. But your bog-standard French person isn’t going to do that (nor should they!)
I was very reluctant to try speaking any French at all, until Julie pointed out an interesting phrase to me:
Rough translation? ‘The thing’
Before, if I hit a word I didn’t understand, the object would loom up before me, all fearsome and scary, making me feel small for not knowing the simple word to describe it. I’ve done a little doodle on my phone to help represent it:
But then I learnt le truc and it was strangely freeing. I was suddenly allowed to gesture towards an object I didn’t know the word for and say ‘le truc’. I had the ability to name things. It’s a powerful ability I didn’t realise that I needed so much. Now, it was more like this:
Now, I have never actually had to use le truc yet in real-life conversation, but knowing it is there, always in my pocket ready to support me, makes me feel a lot more confident about speaking in French.
Je vais m’autoriser à faire des erreurs.