In Which Our Heroine Begins Her Efforts to Learn French

Why I didn’t take French in high school and college, I do not know (I took Spanish). I have always wanted to learn French. For years, I’d planned to learn it as an adult—perhaps not achieving fluency, but able to get around a French-speaking country, you know. Since my longest-term goal in life right now is to travel to Paris for my 30th birthday (less than two years away), I figured that now would be a good time to start.

(Of course, Paris will probably be as crowded with tourists and foreign-born residents as London was. Just like every other person in London was speaking French, German, and Russian, I expect to hear very few people in Paris actually speaking French!)

After considering some options and hemming and hawing, I finally started an online independent Elementary French course from a list of free online courses that Bethany sent me. (I might learn Russian and Icelandic while I’m at it…) The first two lessons were okay, but the grammar one is proving difficult. No surprise; I barely have a grasp of English grammar. Just keep practicing, I suppose.

"Tish! That's French!"

“Tish! That’s French!”

Tonight, to relax after a busy day and try to get a little more immersed in the language, I decided to watch my Blu-ray of The Avengers with the French language track and French subtitles. It’s been … entertaining.

Actually, after I got used to hearing different voices than the ones I know so well, in a totally unfamiliar language, it wasn’t as funny as I thought it was going to be. I don’t know how foreign-language tracks are done for films, but they got a really good cast for the French Avengers. I think the best is Tony—I thought he would sound funny, but the guy doing his French voice has actually nailed the attitude. The voices of Black Widow and Fury and Loki are fine, and although the voice of French!Thor is not quite as booming as Chris Hemsworth’s, it’s sufficiently mighty.

But still…

Je suis Loki. Je viens d’Asgard et je suis chargé d’une glorieuse mission.

While the French soundtrack is more conversational and designed to sort of match characters’ lip movements, the subtitles are more of a literal translation of the English script. Which means it’s not actually great for language-learning. Hilariously, the subtitles translated “mewling quim” as “pauvre pleurnicharde.” When I looked up the phrase, Google Translate said it means “poor crybaby.”

Also, the voice of The Other in the opening is the hammiest thing I’ve ever heard, and I broke down into hysterical laughter. But my favorite part of the French Avengers is either French!Thor pronouncing “bilgesnipe,” or French!Phil saying “Allons-y!”

Si l’offre tient toujours, j’aimerais quelque chose à boire, maintenant.