Me Talk Pretty One Day: The Hardships of Learning a Foreign Language

April 28, 2022 by Essay Writer

In David Sedaris’s essay “Me Talk Pretty One Day” he talks about his experience learning French from an abusive teacher. David talks about how his teacher would belittle every student, not understanding why. He later realized her way of teaching helped him understand French more than when he first moved to France.

The essay did well in appealing to Pathos by describing how he and his classmates felt when his teacher trivialized them while answering her questions in French. The also appealed to Ethos by the many different ways his teacher taught French to his classmates. He describes his French class in Paris. He showed the audience that even though insulting someone in a different language is a weird way of teaching them that language, it taught him and his classmates how to speak French. The essay did not appeal to Logos because it gave a better connection to the readers through Pathos and Ethos. A colorful imagery is clearly seen throughout the text. Sedaris’ purpose was to tell his story by describing his experiences as a forty-one-year-old student dealing with his struggles of learning a new language in a new country. Sedaris confirmed that moving to a new country and learning a new language is difficult. Sedaris tries to explain through his experiences that sometimes when learning a language, you have to learn in different ways than the original way.

He is trying to convince his audience that they should take on a challenge no matter how difficult it seems. Even though this task may seem difficult, the outcome may turn out positive and beneficial. Talking about his personal experience convinces his audience that he is intelligent, can be trusted, and is knowledgeable about the topic at hand. In the beginning of the essay Sedaris thought he was more than ready for the class. He would use scrambled letters as a means of French. The scrambled letters symbolized how he didn’t understand what his teacher was saying. He took a month long before leaving for France but still wasn’t as prepared as he thought he was. As time went by the scrambled letters eventually turned into actual words. Sedaris was slowly but surely learning and understanding what others were saying.

Sedaris’s essay helps the audience relate to a similar time when it came to learning a new language. With the scrambled letters used as French, he tries to show the reader that we were all once on the same page. He was showing words of the new language which were scrambled letters until he was around it on a regular basis, that we will eventually understand what others are saying.


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