Chris M, French Student

Chris on the Pont des arts
A French Success Story

Chris took French with us so he could get more out of a trip to France. He struggled with a lot of the confidence issues that many adult language learners face, as you can read below. But he was patient with himself, and worked hard with two French instructors, Chris and Sev. He let us show him how to gradually work his way into a new language. He made great progress, and was a joy to work with. It turns out he’s also a great writer with a fondness for car metaphors and a gift for alliteration!

Chris’s Story

My story? It might sound familiar. I’m a bonafide American monoglot who’d long ago given up on ever penetrating the mysteries of a second language. Sure, I’d tried to study languages back in my school days, but my teachers were all orthographic ogres and phonological fanatics who’d convinced me I’d never get beyond the single lane road of English. So when I found myself on the cusp of a trip to France, I figured that actually learning some French would be way off the map for me. And even after the map directed me to the Language Garage, I was sure I was beyond repair. I was just an over-fifty linguistic jalopy who’d never made it out of first gear.

(We don’t really wear coveralls, but I kind of like the idea)

Then the mechanic greeted me. His coveralls were crisp, the name stitched in oval on his chest said Chris. His way was warm and welcoming, and I detected no hint of judgement as he offered to take a look under the hood. I was bashful. Under the hood he’d see the rust on my prepositional pistons and the years of gunk clogging my verbal valves.

(He remembers my warning about ‘no naked nouns’ in French)

But to my surprise and delight, he said, “I see potential. A liaison here, an enchaînement there, and you’ll be surprised at how much smoother this baby runs. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll have to drop in some irregular verbs and dress up those naked nouns, but we’ll work on it together and before you know it, you’ll be rolling out of here under your own steam.”

(Sev enters the picture)

So I cast aside my doubts and signed up for French One. I would like to say that Chris was as good as his word, but in fact he was better. The lessons were non-threatening but still challenging, and he was always sure to meet me in my comfort zone. Along the way I also met Sev, and even though he slung his instructional wrenches differently from Chris, he was no less the master mechanic.

(Chris made good use of his student book and audio in between lessons)

In between lessons, there was written and audio work, and like so many things, the more I worked on these, the more my engine tuned up. But even when life intervened and I didn’t get as much work done between lessons as I’d like, Chris and Sev always picked up at just the right place to keep me on track.

(He was never really a junker)

And now? I am certainly no Francophonic Formula One, but I am happy to report that I puttered along just fine on my trip to France. The Language Garage not only got me back on the road, but made sure I didn’t turn à droite when I meant to turn à gauche.

So, whether your language needs involve a simple tune up or a complete overhaul, find your way to the Language Garage, because if they can repair a junker like me, imagine what they can do for you!

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