I've got a couple of stray thoughts knocking around in my head, both on the general theme of the sound of the French language. As in, what is it about the way French ladies speak that makes me think of chirping birds? The other day when I was on the bus, I noticed two women speaking quietly with each other and I knew almost immediately, without even being close enough to eavesdrop, that they were not speaking French.
Why? It's not the words French women use; in fact I wish I could find a sound file, stripped of all meaning but preserving the rise and fall of their voices. Something about it is musical; but it also sometimes strikes me that, at least to my way of thinking, it makes the speakers seem more like little girls than the mature accomplished women they are. Was that "bonjour madame" sincere or not? It can be hard to tell.
And what does my French sound like to native French speakers? I remember my French teacher the first year I was here, getting a big grin every time I struggled with those extra syllables in the future tense. I must have looked frustrated because she said, "Mais Anne, c'est super mignon!" Is it really cute or maybe just plain pathetic? Are they nodding because I'm getting my point across or are they just being polite as I garble tenses and cases and genders?
Am I making any sense at all?