Me Talk Pretty One Day Essay Purpose Statement

1) At the beginning of the essay Sedaris used uncomfortable diction such as, intimidating, discomfort, andnerve-racking. These words inform the reader how Sedaris felt when returning to school to learn French (219).2) Made up words like, meimslxpand apzkubjxow are used within sentences spoken by the professor. Their purpose is to notify the readers that Sedaris didn’t understand certain word the professor is saying (219).3) War like imagery is used to describe the French professor. She “forged on”, “crouched low for her attack” and one of the students “struggled to defend herself” from her. These illustrations convinced the audience that the professor is an aggressive person and many of the students including Sedaris fear her (220).4) Incorrect sentence structure can be found in the title, Me Talk Pretty One Day, as well as at the end, “sometimes me cry at night”. The poor grammar is imitating what Sedaris and his classmates sound like to the professor. By showing us in English what they sound like in French the audience can understand Sedaris’s frustrations (222).5) Throughout all his struggles, Sedaris managed to keep a humorous tone. He described himself as the comical character Pa Kittle stuck in a fashion show (219). He also remained amusing when filling in homework sentences, for example: “A quick run around the lake? I’d love to! Let me just strap on my wooden leg (221).

In his essay 'Me Talk Pretty One Day,' David Sedaris points out how difficult it is to actually acquire a working, minimum fluency in a foreign language even after some exposure to it.

Despite a month long French class and summers in Normandy prior to attending school in France, the author finds himself at a loss when his new teacher mercilessly rattles off some administrative announcements in fluent French. It is not long before the...

In his essay 'Me Talk Pretty One Day,' David Sedaris points out how difficult it is to actually acquire a working, minimum fluency in a foreign language even after some exposure to it.

Despite a month long French class and summers in Normandy prior to attending school in France, the author finds himself at a loss when his new teacher mercilessly rattles off some administrative announcements in fluent French. It is not long before the students in David's class realize that their teacher is both mercurial and sadistically unsympathetic. Her linguistic skewering intimidates her students but appears to bolster her sense of self-importance. At least, this is the general consensus among David's classmates.

How often is one asked what he loves in this world? More to the point, how often is one asked and then publicly ridiculed for his answer?

We didn’t know it then, but the coming months would teach us what it was like to spend time in the presence of a wild animal, something completely unpredictable.

Huddled in the hallways and making the most of our pathetic French, my fellow students and I engaged in the sort of conversation commonly overhead in refugee camps.

In a frantic effort to improve, David takes to spending four hours a night on his homework. However, he eventually discovers that his fear of sounding unsophisticated and clumsy leads him to avoid regular discourse with others.

David's struggles with the French language continue, and no one is more surprised when he discovers that he happens to understand every word of abuse his teacher hurls at him one day. This emotionally significant moment is fused with undeniable pride and self-satisfaction.

Understanding doesn’t mean that you can suddenly speak the language. Far from it. It’s a small step, nothing more, yet its rewards are intoxicating and deceptive. The teacher continued her diatribe and I settled back, bathing in the subtle beauty of each new curse and insult.

Though Sedaris points out that achieving fluency in a foreign language is a linguistically grueling undertaking (seemingly made worse by an emotionally daunting instructor), the results of finally marking some sort of progress in the endeavor is both exhilarating and inspiring.

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