The health care system in France, as you may well know, is significantly different from the system in the United States. People in France see the doctor. A lot. While teaching a class on the conditional tense I learned just how much my French students consult their physicians and medical centers. In the class, I read examples of different maladies aloud and then the students offered me advice. It went like this:
Example 1: BAD HEADACHE / "If I were you, I would go to the doctor."
Example 2: NOSEBLEED / "If I were you, I would visit the hospital."
Example 3: STOMACHACHE / "If I were you, I would visit the hospital."
"Really?" I queried after the exercise was completed. Shoulder shrugs and nods. Yeah.
At Tea Time, vegetarianism was discussed and Bruno (the guy who loves Yellowstone and who kind of resembles Yogi the Bear) offered his opinion on the matter. (Keep in mind, vegetarianism is a rarity in France). He said of vegetarians, “They’re nice. They’re calm. They don’t drink alcohol.”
Later on, in another class, we were using adverbs of frequency (always, never, sometimes) and I asked the students how often they did things, like eat sandwiches, for instance.
Claude replied, “Unfortunately, I eat sandwiches 2-3 times per month.”
I was confused. Perhaps this guy didn’t really understand the meaning of ‘unfortunately.’
“Why is that a bad thing, Claude?”
“No good for the health. My doctor tells me not to eat sandwiches.”
I still didn’t get it. The other students were with Claude.