I’m Clark Williams. I Help People and Business cross linguistic and cultural barriers.
When I started learning French as a teenager, it was an absolute revelation for me. I had assumed that the process of learning a language would consist of memorizing alternate words for all the ones I was used to using in English. I was shocked – and more than a little intimidated – when I realized that the mechanics of French were quite different than those of English! As I continued studying the language, I realized that these different pathways of making meaning, result in an entirely different perspective on the world, which amounts to a culture with its own understanding of things. This creates a beautiful diversity, and, for me, learning a language became a way of understanding in some small way how another person’s thought process works.
Though this diversity is extraordinarily valuable to the human experience, it is often a source of frustration in our day-to-day lives when we need to communicate across a language barrier. I experienced another revelation upon moving to France after I completed my undergraduate degree in French. I thought that majoring in French would make me an impeccably fluent French speaker – after all, if I could read Flaubert, Duras, all these literary heavyweights, then what couldn’t I do? Well, simply speaking to a real estate agent in order to rent an apartment proved to be more difficult than reading Baudelaire! Over the years, however, I learned through often very confusing exchanges and bureaucratic procedures, and now I am happy to say that I feel perfectly comfortable living in a Francophone environment.
It’s become my mission to use my hard-earned expertise in written and spoken French and first-hand knowledge of French culture to help others to communicate more effectively in the francophone world.