french is beautiful



“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


One of my biggest hurdles in my French-speaking journey has been my perfectionism. In my mind, if I can’t say something perfectly, then I shouldn’t say it all. Thankfully, one of the very first things Carrie Anne James addresses in her lessons is our fear dialogue, and how it affects our fluency. We have to let go of the fear of judgement, and just speak. Focus on the words, and lean into it. The proper accent will come when you’re ready for it. Not to mention, the French find American accents adorable (think Jean Seberg in Breathless). Consistency is key – find ways to surround yourself with the language. Whether it’s film, music, literature, or the most adorable French child telling a captivating story, do what you enjoy most. The more exposure you have to the language, the more time your brain has to absorb the rhythm and syntax, allowing you to imitate the sound. Your imitation won’t be perfect at first…but fake it until you make it! While many would argue there is no such thing as perfection…my endless hunger for it helps propel me forward (in all aspects of my life). I’m just so thankful to have a teacher that keeps me grounded in reality.

** french is beautiful is a regular series – browse the archives here **


  1. I love that quote! Its so important to remember to let go of the quest for perfection and embrace what we have.

  2. Yes! I’m so afraid of my terrible french accent that I never speak french! My french is not very good at all, regardless of the accent, but I think I’m just too afraid of sounding like an idiot to even try. My brother (who also speaks obnoxiously fluent french) moved to Brazil with ZERO formal education in Portuguese. He met my now sister in law the very first night he was there, and she thought something was wrong with him because he could not communicate at all. A few months later they ran into each other again and he was practically fluent (and completely redeemed himself for their first interaction). By the end of the year he was able to fool people into thinking he was Brazilian. He has a natural gift for languages that I just don’t, but he’s also not afraid of making mistakes while he learns.

    • ha, I love that story Sarah…thanks for sharing! not everyone is auditory, and we all learn in different ways – I think the key is finding what works for you. Carrie Anne has been so encouraging of letting go of that fear – the only way to improve is to speak! you can do it.

  3. I feel exactly the same way. I’ve studied french for six years (high school and college) but I always feel self conscious even if my pronunciation is correct. There’s a small french sandwich shop near where I live. The two french ladies always speak to me in french. I always feel the pressure when I have to think about what they’ve said (translate it into English in my mind) and then think of my response in English (translate it into french).

    • thank you for sharing Jacqueline…let go of your fear and embrace what you know! easier said than done, I know…but I’m trying to do the same. ;)

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