Here’s another of my Forecaster columns:
I walk into French class. The teacher asks, “Quoi de neuf?” (“What’s new?”)
This question aims to have us talk without notes, converse spontaneously. I cheat and plan, “I’ll talk about seeing ‘Mamma Mia Here I Go Again.’ How do you say ‘movie’?”
I look it up and scribble notes, my French not fluent, not perfect. I have some comfort with extemporaneous French, though, not speaking in mere single words, now and then a phrase, here and there a sentence. Given my fragile French, I offer only facts. I might say, “I went to the beach.” Nothing creative. Nothing flowing.
Quoi de neuf comes in English, too. This morning my friend Jane texted, “I asked my husband, ‘what’s new?’” He said, ‘Yankees won in the 13th.’”