On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-7 p.m., people trickle into the Joseph Feilding Smith Building greeting each other with “Bonjour” — which means “good day,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Many participants, though not all, are taking a French class and want to practice.
“The goal is just to have French students be more comfortable talking,” said Brenton Walker, the secretary of the lab. “In the French class(es) … they are learning grammar, and spelling, and rules, and vocabulary, but the point of the French conversation lab is to get them more comfortable listening and speaking.”
The people at the lab have various knowledge and comfort levels. Some only know a word or two and are trying to learn and find answers to their questions.
“We have students coming in who are terrified of being able to like have a basic conversation,” said Nolan Monnier, the director of the lab. “To be able to help them is awesome.”
Help is offered to the people who come, no matter what skill level they are at. The 300-level class students talk with the 100-level students, while the 100-level students talk to each other and help where they can. There are tutors there waiting to help and answer questions. There are native speakers and people who spoke it on their missions also willing to help.
“I really like just … witnessing it and seeing people who are struggling a little bit with French and still be able to help other people,” Monnier said. “Just the help that people bring to each other is awesome.”