While you might not be able to tell the difference between the French words for castle, cake and rake, two Dunedin secondary school pupils have proven their power over the language and will today test their skills on the national stage.
Logan Park High School pupils Bram Casey and Arthur Howard placed at the Alliance Francaise de Dunedin’s annual Concours Oral spoken French competition two weeks ago, and are the two local candidates progressing on to the national competition.
Bram will compete in the year 12 category and Arthur in year 13.
The test includes individual presentations, role play and themed presentations.
The winner will travel to New Caledonia in December to stay with a French-speaking family at Hienghene.
Both contestants were eager to win the prize, but neither one was feeling nervous yesterday.
Arthur said he had no enthusiasm nor interest in the language as a child, but his parents wanted him to take some classes to try it out when he was 8.
Although he was apprehensive at first, he quickly found himself enjoying the lessons.
Bram said he became interested in it through exposure, as his mother would throw out the odd word or phrase.
He took his first lesson at 10 and had practiced since. The pair both tried out a few different languages, but French was the only one that stuck.
Bram said it was a simple, comfortable language that could often sound magical.
Their French teacher learned the language in Germany and as a result the pair had picked up on the regional accent.
Arthur had been to France and tried out his skills on the locals, but it was obvious there was a difference in experience. While the conversations were entirely intelligible, it felt like they were ”humouring” him.
Both the young men said they would try their best, but saw no need to worry about their performance.