Learn French: Good. Learn Communication: Not So Much

I picked up a “Learn French without Reading” type audio CD when I stopped at the library today. It’s supposed to teach you how to speak and understand French enough to get around with it. Then, if you so desire, you can move on and learn how to read and write it – replicating the way that kids learn how to speak English here in America. I took a little French in high school, so when I here things, they sound familiar and I can still picture the words. I’m doing pretty well through the first day’s lesson anyway. I like the approach; however, the context needs just a little work.

Here’s a paraphrased situational conversation from the CD:

Teacher: How would you ask someone if they speak French?

Man: Pardon, est-que vous comprendrez l’Francais?** [Excuse me, do you understand French?]

Teacher: Say the person you just asked doesn’t respond. How would you ask them if they speak English?

Man: Est-que vous comprendrez l’Anglais? [Do you understand English?]

Um… last time I checked, if I asked someone if they understood French and they didn’t answer, I’m not going to ask if they speak English in French. Rather, I would just ask if they speak English.

In English.

Makes sense to me anyway.

** Disclaimer: I didn’t look up any spellings of French words – this is from high school French 8 years ago. If I messed up, cut me some slack.