French numbers cause me anxiety.
1-69 are cake because they’re like numbers in English. The seventies are harder, because now you have to add numbers to other numbers: 71 is 60 plus 11, 72 is 60 plus 12, and so on. 80 becomes even more tricky, because the number is literally “four twenties” or “quatre-vingts.” If I want to say 87 I have to say four twenties seven or “quatre-vingts sept.” 90 is like 70 and 80 combined: 20 x 4 + 10. When someone uses numbers in casual conversation I miss the part they’ve said after the numbers because I am calculating in my head.
French phone numbers look like this: 07 45 87 93 65, and are recited as five separate numbers. I can write my phone number down easily because I’ve memorized it. I can also read my phone number off to you if I am looking at it. However I cannot tell you my phone number if you ask it from me verbally, like if I have to leave it as a message on a voicemail. You’ll get it eventually, and with a lot of pausing. In my head, I am seeing the number, translating it from English to French, in some cases adding numbers to each other, and then saying the number out loud. Magical brain stuffs. The other day I called up a company to see about lessons during the school year for B., and when no one answered, I realized I was going to have to leave my phone number. I attempted to think of it in my head before the beep, and I couldn’t, so I just hung up. Gratefully, caller I.D. and he called me back.