Sunday, April 29, 2007

Oui mais non

This is the Waterloo outdoor Sunday market in the Winter, right now it is warm and wall to wall people. I found when we go there even though I don't speak french yet I have to pay attention to what everyone is saying. Anne will tell me "they are talking to you!". So now I listen carefully as I stroll the market. As we step up for service I hear, bonjour madame et monsieur. Of course a response is required. Now I am learning by listening even as we walk around I hear things. The details are interesting. I know "oui", Amelie taught me "oui mais non" this is very Belgian I am told. Yes but no. It reminds me of a cartoon with a small yes and a big But about to come rolling down a big hill at someone, yes BUT. Today I heard "mais non" I thought this might be a quick way to say "oui mais non" but Anne said it is different. I figured it's a soft no, "well no" rather than "NO". I am finding without a lot of guidience new languages are very difficult to truly understand. And as everyone knows even in our native languages we are misunderstood, I truly feel that anything I say in french has little chance of being close to what I wanted to express. Having a french speaking girl friend helps you with some of the basics. Bisou, kiss, Je t'aime, I love you, Je t'aime bien, you're a good friend, Je t'aime beaucoup, can be I love you a lot, or you are a very good friend. I have just read two books, "A Year In The Merde" and "Merde Actually", they both point out a few things like this that can get you in trouble.
Off to see an art show and take a community walk, they do these frequently, they map out some routes and half the town is out walking around.

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