28 June 2008

Foreign language lunches

A few weeks ago, someone at my work came up with the great idea of foreign language lunches. It started off pretty simply, with Sarah writing a short internal blog post:

Our resident Frenchman has offered to improve the quality of French spoken in the halls of Atlassian. In particular, he would like to eradicate the use of:

“Bon matin, Sam”

Every Monday at lunch time (12:30) in the basement.

(The basement is the staff area in our office, so the location isn’t as ominous as it sounds.)

Despite only having done three years of French in high school, I turned up this Monday to lunch at la table française. It was very hard for me to say anything at all in French, but nonetheless I found it really interesting. Listening to Sarah, Sam and the others talk, I began to piece together some of the French words and phrases I used to know.

Even better, this week another group is forming around speaking Mandarin at lunchtime on Thursdays. I’m sure this will help with my current efforts to study and learn Mandarin. We have three or four native speakers in the company and three or four people studying it, so it should be a great activity.

This seems like a good idea that could be organised in many workplaces. Find out who your local foreign language speakers are and organise a lunchtime gathering!