That long, skinny vegetable.
That colorful thing in the sea.
That thing that you close with a key.
These sound like lines from a fun board game, but are in fact desperate definitions I’ve uttered within the past week when the French term for leek or coral reef or lock escapes me.
I can speak quickly now, producing French at about the same speed as my native English, but that ability doesn’t always disguise knowledge gaps: simple nouns and verbs that I missed or forgot along the way. I compensate with long, looping definitions, often punctuated by you know.
“So we bought some…” My story grinds to a halt. “Tu sais, that long, skinny vegetable?” The listener squints. They don’t know.
“White and green, tu sais, makes a good soup?”
Over five years of dedicated language study and I’m liable to get tripped up on a…
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