Thursday, April 19, 2007


My trainer was demostrating a tricep exercise (standing on a Bosu ball, round side down, in a semi-squat in front of a dual arm cable machine, tricep kickback.) I was in the zone of watching the form. All of a sudden, I reached over and pushed his elbow with my index finger and said, "In."

I corrected my personal trainer's form. Without even realizing it. He thought it was great and was happy that I was paying close attention. Somehow (while balancing on the damn Bosu), I started talking about speaking/being French. The French will correct your spoken French without missing a beat:

"Je voudrais aller a la Mexique pour mes

"au Mexique."
It's that fast and that simple. The assumption is that you won't be at all offended by it (and I, for one, never am.) I've heard French children corrected just like that - the incorrect article or verb tense quickly corrected, and the speaker allowed to get back to whatever they were saying. Personally, when I'm corrected - I tend to repeat the correction, and move on. I have found it very, very effective in learning and improving.

I've even, in the heady moments when my French is up-to-speed, corrected people. And I would never, ever do that in English.

Why is that? I can understand that a constant barrage of corrections to someone who is learning the language and already feeling insecure would probably have a negative effect. But, I can't imagine correcting someone even a single time.

I wonder if this is some kind of anglophile/francophile divide. (And I'm certainly not saying the French are in any way superior: while anglos are more likely to take a correction personally, the French make any problem about the other person. And yes, those are both s-w-e-e-p-i-n-g generalizations.)

What would it be like to tell the people in my life to let me know when I'm wrong? Or point out when I'm being arrogant, bossy, or just need to shut the hell up? (All of which happen fairly often, I'm sure.) I'll be honest, I'm not sure I'm ready for that jelly just yet.

1 comment:

i like to sleep...and eat... said...

Let me say that the occasional correction is all right, but I usually can't permanently incorporate grammatical suggestions unless I understand WHY...