Franglish: speed dating with a French language twist
The good news is that there is an event that takes care of my linguistic mix-ups. At Franglish, it is perfectly acceptable de parler franglais.
French language links
Inspired by their Erasmus experience, Nicolas Saurel and Steven Annonziata decided to put native French and English speakers on a level playing field. Franglish is a language exchange event that puts your skills into practice in a sociable and relaxed environment. One-to-one conversation is set up in each terrain – seven minutes in English, seven minutes in French.
Initially set up in Paris, Franglish has spread through France to Lyon, Lille, Nice, Grenoble, Toulouse and Aix. Its success has even crossed the Channel: the launch was in London last year. Events take place in a variety of venues, from chic Parisian bars and typical English pubs, to the French Institute. The price of a ticket includes a drink and an evening of bilingual conversation.
New francophile to a city?
A new arrival in the City of Lights, I plucked up the courage to go along to a Franglish event toute seule. While I already tested my French language skills chatting with shopkeepers and said a brief bonjour to residents in my building, I had experienced few prolonged encounters with de vrais parisiens. My term at university was yet to start and I was struggling to meet people. So, when Franglish popped up on Facebook as a suggestion, I thought pourquoi pas?
Franglais fun in Paris
While I have never been particularly embarrassed or nervous about speaking in French, several reservations had entered my mind: talking to strangers? With a time limit? And switching languages? Yet my apprehensions soon disappeared over a glass of wine and amidst the buzz of animated conversation, in a combination of tongues.
I was immediately put at ease and ended up having a lot of fun. For those looking to brush up on lost language skills, there is no pressure on your level. Franglish is all about having a good time and meeting people. If you are looking to impress with some idiomatic expressions next time round, make sure you jot them down on the paper provided for notes!
What I really enjoyed was talking to a mix of people. Participants consist of a range of ages, professions and origins. Naturally, conversation does roll more easily off the tongue with some than others. That said, everyone I spoke to were so helpful in giving me advice, as a recently arrived Paris dweller. By the end of the evening, my paper was full of locals’ tips and recommendations.
Lasting friendships or love at first sight?
Can friendships be formed in 15 minutes? Maybe not, but bonds can develop once the time is up. Participants often mingle after the two-hour mark and either have another drink or move on elsewhere. I was lucky to befriend Sandra, who works in a boulangerie with great patisseries. She was even kind enough to invite me round to her next gathering with quite an impressive homemade spread.
The face-to-face setup does also suggest a speed dating vibe. Still, the exchange is intended to be purely linguistic with no French kissing involved! Though, some may find themselves tongue-tied in linguistic romance…
After one evening with Franglish, I felt ready to take Paris on. With newly acquired locals’ tips and native expressions under my belt, I was starting to feel more at home. Since then I have also been to events in London, where a lot of the French expat crowd meet on a regular basis.
For any newcomers to a city or linguists looking to extend their learning outside of the classroom, Franglish is something I definitely recommend!
Do you have tips to speak French more often while staying in France? Share your advice in the comments box below!Image credits:
1. Ici on parle Franglais, Kristine Weiss on Pinterest.
2. Franglish, via Parisisimperfect.
3. Franglish, via Alexandraensign.com.
4. Franglish, via Parisaav.com