Friday, 5 September 2008

Lost in Translation

The Frenchman once suggested, helpfully, that when I didn't know the French word for something I should try to say the English one with a French accent.

Anglophones please note: here is a list of English words you must never try this with either at home or anywhere else within earshot of a French speaking person if you wish to retain a molecule of respect and dignity.

I expect profuse thanks, flowers, champagne even. After all, I have looked stupid so you don't have to.

Preservative = a condom
Tampon = a rubber stamp
Aspiration = what a French vacuum cleaner does
Versatile = fickle and inconsistant
Con = female genitalia or bloody idiot
Napkin = a sanitary towel
Occasion = second hand
Sale = dirty
Type = a guy or bloke
Amateur = an enthusiast
Exhibition = a vulgar display
Acces(s) = a fit of rage or anger
Auditor = someone who is listening
Ban = a round of applause

6 comments:

Dumdad said...

And there's

Experience = experiment

Irene said...

Thank you, I hope I mever forget that. I hope I never make a fool of myself, but I probably will.

Jaywalker said...

My sons now do this in reverse. When were at my dads recently (Cotswolds) the youngest came out with
"It smells like cushion!"
(He meant, it smells like 'cochon'). Ha.

Léonie said...

Having made an idiot of myself too many times using this fail-sure technique (eg. accidentally telling a French exchange family over and over again that I was, in fact, pregnant) I now just say the English word in an English accent.

To myself I pretend this is because I enjoy weaving the two languages together like a lovely linguistic tapestry, but in truth I just hate looking like a fool in front of the French.

Anonymous said...

I think it was in Brighton, many years ago, that a commercial week of French products was organised by the business community and at the last minute, posters in all the shop fronts had to be torn down and re printed... the originals read: "SALES FRANÇAISES"!

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