”Me talk pretty one day” is a story about how David Sedaris started to learn French. He moves to Paris after taking a one-month French course in New York.
Throughout his essay he explains how his ability to speak French is developing, and how his fellow students and teachers are affecting his learning. He brings up many aspects of good and bad things that contribute to your learning. It is clear that he wants to use his own story as a representative story of how learning languages is a process that takes time and effort.
“And it struck me that, for the first time since arriving in France, I could understand every word that someone was saying.
Understanding doesn’t mean that you can suddenly speak the language. Far from it. It’s a small step, nothing more, yet its rewards are intoxicating and deceptive.” Page 3 line 120-124
This quote is from the absolute ending of the essay. This is where his entire point with the essay becomes clear. Basically the first two and a half pages is a short story with a 1st person narrator. I think this structure is his way to make sure that we can identify ourselves with his situation. Most people have tried to learn a new language, and know how hard it is to remember grammar and regular everyday words.
It is frustrating if you can’t remember a certain word or phrase that you need. I think that this is why David Sedaris in general has a negative attitude to his learning process. It’s not because he thinks it’s boring, but more likely because he is insecure and it’s hard. I myself can relate to the insecure feeling and the fear of saying something completely wrong.
“That’s the way they do it here – it’s everybody into the language pool, sink or swim”
Page 1 Line 16
I think this phrase describe his situation very well. He is at a whole new school and he knows no...