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Malade comme un perroquet?

Bilston Community College and Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club have joined forces to teach fans some rudimentary French in preparation for the World Cup.

"Ici mon fils, sur ma tete", a more refined translation of the familiar command of "On the 'ead, son", will consist of seven 90-minute modules of fun learning, followed by a debriefing at the bar, every Thursday evening - all for Pounds 50.

Mike Arthur, head of a translation services company linked to the college, devised the course with the support of Wolves and Lens, its French-twinned club, which will host the England vs Colombia game.

The course will cover "Going abroad" (how to get there, basic geography, where the games take place, driving on the "wrong" side of the road); "Fish, chips and lager" (basic vocabulary of eating and, perhaps more importantly, drinking); "A room for six, please" (arranging hotel or hostel accommodation, learning what the bidet's really for, how much your pound is worth).

Later on will come "The glorious game" (key phrases such as "offside", "goal" or "I say referee, I regret to inform you that your vision is a tad impaired"); "Post-match celebrationdepression" (singing the French version of "Three lions on my shirt" or moaning "We was robbed" or "I'm sick as a parrot"); "Now get out of that" (asking directions for the nearest doctor, hospital, dentist, politesse aux gendarmes . . ) and "Coming home" (where and what to buy as presents to placate loved ones, and how much duty-free booze and fags you're allowed).

If this is all too serious, students can do a one-off session for Pounds 10, such as learning how to surf the Internet for the latest information, or how to cook a French meal; and the whole family can learn together on Saturday mornings.

Details from Mike Arthur, Bilston (EONC) Training Ltd, Green Lanes Campus, Wellington Road, Bilston, West Midlands, WV14 6EW.

Diane Spencer

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