Sunday we hit the road to visit Jonathan’s family in Québec, which is where I am presently. As someone who studied French all throughout high school, who passed a French exam in graduate school, and can read French with relative ease, it still amazes me how lost I am when I get here. This trip was a turning point, though. I realized that a fair amount of my difficulties were not necessarily with the French language, as much as they were with the Quebécois dialect – pronunciation variations, lexical choices, and just a level of slangy familiarity that I’m not used to. I’m getting the hang of the «pis», «nousautres» and «là» peppered through every sentence (but, for the record, I’m not getting the hang of the French Canadian keyboard layout. It just took me about 3 minutes to figure out where the « and » were, and they’re marked on the keyboard itself). But it took me this long to understand that «oi», a diphthong like «wah» in France French, can often be pronounced «way». And while «a» at the end of a word (where it isn’t a grammatical marker) may be rounded quite liberally by native speakers, they’ll laugh at you when that same sound slips out of your mouth. Accents.
I’ve spent the majority of the last week not speaking, which gives me plenty of time for listening and thinking. And planning knitting patterns. I’m a quarter of the way through the cashmere cowl I started last Saturday, but ran out of beads and was forced to stop. Pictures are forthcoming, and a write-up eventually. Once I’m back in Cambridge, I’ll hit up the bead store and continue work. I’m also working on a swatch for fingerless gloves from the alpaca Jonathan brought back from Chile, which will hopefully be in the works tonight or tomorrow on the long drive home. And then there’s thoughts of a sweater for Himself…but I have to put more thought into that…and start scoping out the mega-sales for a sweater-sized pile of wonderful yarn.
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