A fancy owl is teaching me French and sometimes I make him cry

I recently took up French lessons via the wonders of technology, aka the Duolingo iPhone app, and now a fancy little owl pops up on my phone every day, nagging me to conjugate verbs and learn why the French spell their words with so many letters they never seem to pronounce.



This is my owl. I’ve named him Gustave. I sometimes feel like he’s looking down on me with that snooty monocle, smoking jacket and moustache. I guess I really shouldn’t criticize him for being fancy though, since I’m the one who made him that a way by using my points to buy him his “accoutrements,” which means “pretentious owl clothes” in French.

Sometimes I get more than three answers wrong, and this makes Gustave cry.



He cries so much that a puddle of his tears starts to pool at his feet. I feel this is abnormal for an owl, even a French one.

My mistakes also apparently lead him to inexplicably strip off his “accoutrements.” You mis-conjugate a few verbs, and the damn bird starts taking off all his clothes. It’s weird. It’s possible Gustave has some deep-seated psychological issues he will slowly start sharing with me as our lessons continue. It could get super awk.

I’ve also decided to take Pancake along on my linguistic journey, because I think they eat a lot of rabbits in France, so if she every gets bunnynapped by a gang of Frenchmen, perhaps they will have mercy and not cook her if she can speak their language. Plus, who in their right mind would cook a magical talking rabbit?  Not even the French.

In fact, she can already say “Je m’appelle Le Crepe!” Well, I can say it in a voice imitating what I think hers would sound like if she could talk, which is pretty much the same thing. Viva Le Crepe!

10 responses to this post.

  1. This post is so full of win, I don’t even know where to start. Also: it might have the Very Best Post Title Ever.


  2. This is a great post Allison. Don’t you just get so frustrated by electronic thingies that keep telling you to do stuff and when you are wrong. The ridiculous part is that we begin to talk back.
    Now Allison, it may come as a shock but I believe that rabbits don’t actually speak, except Peter and Buggs of course, but they are exceptional characters. Pancake, I’m afraid to say is leading you astray and just maybe, by taking French lessons with you, has plans to write a play in French whereby the leading protagonist (Rabbit) sets about taking over the world.
    You just can’t trust rabbits so be careful out there. Enjoy your crepe.B


  3. Thanks for the laugh- man I needed it too. I have that app too- thought maybe I could magically learn Spanish. Apparently not. 🙂


  4. Just signed up for an Italian course Allison. Thanks for the tip.B


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