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If you lack the courage to speak in French, it’s not because your accent is wonky.

It’s not because your grammar is off.

It’s not because you’re short on vocabulary.

When you’re at home speaking in French to the cat, none of these things hold you back.

If you lack the courage to speak in French, it’s because you worry about how other people will react to your French.

You’re worrying about things you can’t control.

Worrying about things you can’t control is stupid.

This is where an “oh well, whatever” attitude helps.

He didn’t understand me.
Oh well, whatever.

She switched to English on me.
Oh well, whatever.

I forgot how to say it.
Oh well, whatever!

You can fix what needs fixing later.

The “oh well, whatever” attitude works after you speak. Before you speak, you need to silence the thoughts in your head.

Your thoughts are screaming: “Oh my God. My accent is so bad. I can’t speak. I just can’t do it.”

You can’t control other people’s behaviour, but you can control your own.

Now is not the time to be a sissy.

You need to take that inner voice and slap some sense into it.

“Hey there, Inner Voice. You’re right. My accent isn’t so hot. But someday it will be. Oh, and by the way bitch, fuck you.”

Now speak, dammit.

If you lack the courage to speak in French, your priority right now shouldn’t be to learn more French.

It can wait.

Close your books.

Stop studying.

I don’t mean that learning French isn’t important.

What I mean is that worrying about other people’s reactions to your French is the best way to prevent yourself from feeling at home in it.

Make adopting a new mindset your priority instead.

If what you really want is to make French yours, this can’t wait.

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It’s been a while since we’ve looked at some French language from the TV show Les Parent. Let’s look at a scene from season 5, where we come across the québécois usages épeurant, moumoune and ben correct.

The scene:

Louis Parent has received his cousin Kevin Parent as a guest at his place. (Kevin is played by real-life singer Kevin Parent.)

During Kevin’s stay, a character called Marie takes a liking to him. Marie is a friend of the Parent family. She wants to watch a scary movie with Kevin late at night hoping to put the moves on him.

When Marie is alone in the living room with Kevin, she begins to flirt, using the subject of the scary movie that she’s about to see as her excuse:

Est-ce que c’est très épeurant comme film? Parce que moi j’suis vraiment moumoune.
Is it a really scary movie? Because I’m a real scaredy-cat.

Kevin doesn’t seem to be into Marie. He responds:

Non, c’est un peu dur, mais c’est pas vraiment épeurant. Tu vas être ben correcte.
No, it’s a bit rough but it’s not really scary. You’re gonna be just fine.

épeurant, scary
moumoune*, scaredy-cat, wimp, sissy
ben correct, just fine

*A note about une moumoune:

In the quote above, Marie used moumoune as an adjective to refer to herself as someone who gets scared easily. This word can become offensive if a gay male is referred to as une moumoune.

[Language taken from Les Parent, “Kevin qui vient dîner,” season 5, episode 1, Radio-Canada, Montréal, 17 September 2012.]

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