I Say Cheveux, You Say Chevaux…

Years ago my then 20 something son was in an inebriated state and got into bar brawl. The police emerged on the scene and both boys started yelling. One policeman took Jake aside and advised, “Calm down, son, and tell me your name”.  So, my son starts, “I’m…”, but because he can’t find the words he simply curses, “Jesus Christ.” Unfortunately, what the cops heard him to proclaim was, “I’m Jesus Christ”.

At least that is what is indicated in the police record.

So…my logic is this: If an ill placed pause in your primary language can land you in jail, couldn’t poorly delivered French get you killed? I often times find this paralyzingly frightful.

But not The Husband. He forges full steam ahead and hopes the good people of France can fill in any gaps.  Last night he had to write a paragraph which he has to present at school today. The assignment: Describe me. In reviewing his work with me–at least at one point- I was purported to be a person in possession of short blond horses.

Tomorrow night we are meeting his classmates for drinks and I hope they are not disappointed when I show up with no ponies (and short, blond hair). image

I am reminded of David Sedaris’ book, Me Talk Pretty One Day, when he recounts a day in Beginner’s French when he and his classmates are trying to explain the concept of Easter to someone who is unfamiliar with the holiday. One person summed it up nicely,

“He weared of himself the long hair and after he die, the first day he come back here for to say hello to the peoples.”

At least he didn’t weared the long ponies. I mean, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, I mean. Crap.

11 Comments

  1. Once my French teacher in Dallas was stopped for drinking and driving, and the police told him the count backwards from one hundred. He said, “First, it is not that easy to count back from one hundred, it takes some thinking. And then I am doing it in a different language, so it slows me down.” Second language perils.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lol! This is funny and yet so familiar! I am French (born, raised) moved to the states when I was 22. With 11 years of “schooled English” (mind you… the British kind) then married my love and started to live my life as a bilingual (wannabe)
    So now I can tell you, I have told many that they had air on their head. That I breathe hair. And my husband bought a beaver jacket. Or was is a feather one? 😉 so many words that are so similar and yet so different.
    Even after being speaking American English for over 25 years now… I still sometime have to pronounce the French word in my head to order to find the correct word.
    My son this morning shook his “bubbled” water into a slushee. And when he opened it and it started to fuzz all over, I told him that is what happen when you shake carbohydrate water… then I had to think and said nope carbonated ( and I wasn’t sure I thought it could be carbonized!) !
    Love your blog BTW!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So funny! I have heard many French people struggle with our English H! I, for reasons yet unknown, have decided to try to learn Spanish and Italian. So now I’m really confused. Thank you for your great comment and the “like”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love Italian language. It’s very similar to French so that might help!
        Oh and tell you dad that I appreciate what he did for our country. I am an Army wife and can totally appreciate it. And while you are at it.. give a hug to your mama, because she is a true hero, having raised so many kids isn’t short of heroism to me. But on top being married to a man that was absent most of the time… is … heroism! So there she is the new Wonder Woman!

        Liked by 1 person

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