Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Oh, and while I'm at it -- fait gaffe, we need to smile and assimilate (edited)

I noticed they've thrown in some new questions for the carte de sejour renewal. At the end of my little window session, the lady asked me some yes/no questions that probably come from Sarkozy and clearly had a right and wrong answer. I've never been asked these questions before.

The first one was: Do you speak (or maybe it was understand) French? This question is right up there with the "Did you pack your own suitcase?" question at the airport, especially since we had been speaking in French the entire time. As if anyone could possibly give any other answer than yes.

I think there was one or two additional questions, but I don't remember what they were. The last one was: Can you write in French? while her pencil hovered over the 'no' box. I was mortally offended by that and said, "Yes, but every now and again I forget an accent." I'm sure this remark will come back to haunt me in a smart-ass karma kind of way (and I'll be sure to blog about it when it does), but seriously, it was a yes/no question and not an evaluative scale. Does this mean, "Are you able to write a philosophical essay that would pass the bac, in French, without the use of a dictionary?" or "Can you write a half-assed paragraph in French with at least passable spelling and grammar?" or even "Do you know how to write?" Oh, dear me. Next time I hope they won't make me write an essay on how I am planning to be a contributing resident of France (aside from making French babies).

After thinking it over a bit, I'm not against the idea of encouraging assimilation because clearly it's in my own best interest to be competent in French. Otherwise, how could I ever argue with the people at the secu? I just think they could find better questions. For example: Can you sing more of the words to La Marseillaise than the average French soccer player? If you were stranded on a desert island, which two foods would you miss the most -- cheese and wine, or peanut butter and jelly/bangers and mash/whatever? I'm sure you all can think of better questions -- let's get a good list going and then submit them to the Sarkozy website.


Reb said...

I just found your blog and am enjoying it.

Did they also ask you what the national anthem was and who the president was? My personal favorite question was "what is the french devise?" Duh, the euro! But the guy was actually meant the other meaning - the motto. Oops.

Pardon My French said...

No, just the silly yes/no questions. Funny about the devise!