I have been taking French classes for sixteen years. SIX. TEEN. And now I’m writing this in total shock because I never really fathomed that it’s been that long.
I’d say my French has gotten pretty good. I mean, after sixteen years and all.
But I always have—and always will—struggle with and will never, EVER, no matter how much I practice be able to subconsciously choose between ‘tu’ and ‘vous’ in conversation.
Yes, duh, I know when to use ‘tu’ and when to use ‘vous’—it’s been sixteen years for goodness’ sake. But when I’m talking to a superior (9 times out of 10 it’s a prof) I take this weird, awkward pause before I have to make a final decision on whether or not to use ‘vous’. Then that awkward pause totally throws me off because in my head I’m all ‘Good grief, Gillian, get it together’ but in reality I’m all “Vo-tu…ous…?” after which my prof looks at me like I’m from the moon. That’s usually how it goes.
Moral of the story: USE ‘VOUS’ WHEN YOU SPEAK WITH A PROF. Just do it. Do it for the A. Or the B. It entirely depends on how you’re doing in the class.
This post was inspired by the LA Times, which published an article titled Brush up on your French with this Bastille Day flowchart online a few days ago in celebration of Bastille Day (le 14 juillet) in France. I find just about anything funny, so hopefully you find this just as hysterical as I did. Enjoy!
Credit: William Alexander and the Los Angeles Times