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About Flirting with French...
"Hilarious and touching, all the way to the suprise ending." — Julie Barlow, author of Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong
I'm more than a Francophile. I want to be French. There's one small obstacle though: I don't speak la langue française. In Flirting with French, I set out to conquer the language I love. Readers will find out if it loves me back. I eat, breathe, and sleep French (even conjugating — badly — in my dreams). I travel to France, where mistranslations send me bicycling off in all sorts of wrong directions, and I nearly drown in an immersion class in Provence, where, faced with the riddle of masculine breasts, feminine beards, and a turkey cutlet of uncertain gender, I start to wonder if I should've taken up golf instead of French.

While playing hooky from grammar lessons and memory techniques, I report on the riotous workings of the Académie française, the 400-year-old institution charged with keeping the language pure; explore the science of human communication, learning why it's harder for fifty-year-olds to learn a second language than it is for five-year-olds; and, when all else fails, head to an IBM research lab, where I trade barbs with a futuristic hand-held translator.

From Rosetta Stone software, to French pen pals, to local meet-ups, to getting an fMRI of my brain on French, I leave no stone unturned in my quest. Do I succeed in becoming fluent? Readers will be as surprised as I was to discover that, in a bizarre twist, studying French may have had a far greater impact on my life than actually learning to speak it ever would.

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