dimanche 26 octobre 2008
Three times in the past week I have had strangers either correct my pronunciation of French words, grammar, or just plain mock my accent.

The first time was when I went with my ten French coworkers to lunch. We ordered drinks and I said (in French) "I would just like some water please."

The waiter made fun of my accent, repeating back to me with what he seemed to think was an imitation of my accent in French. Haha not funny.

The second time was when I went to buy some bread. I couldn't think of the word for a fixed price menu (sandwich and drink). So I asked if they had any menus. Men-you?

No it's men-eww. Yeah well just give me my baguette or else I am going elsewhere.

The last time was yesterday, again at a restaurant (different). I said I would like a waffle (un gauffre). The waiter corrected me, no it's une guaffre.

He saw I was displeased so he winked and tried to get me to smile, but by the third time in a week I had had enough. No tip for you buddy. I'm paying you for food, not for a french lesson, you very well could understand what I wanted.

You would think that people in the service industry, especially in a town such as Aix, would be quite used to foreigners butchering their language and would just let it go.

But no.

Honestly, I think that when French people get their national ID card they have to take an Oath of Citizenship as follows:

"I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will support and defend the language of la Republique Française against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the pompousness on which I am about to enter. So help me Nicolas Sarkozy."

Honestly. Even to become a French citizen you have to pass a language test. Which I am not particularly against and not afraid that I will fail, but come on.

This is particularly funny coming from a country which simultaneously tries to block the adoption of any anglified words and yet loves them "le parking" "le week-end".

In the future, if I don't know you, don't correct my spelling, pronunciation, grammar, or make fun of my accent, or I WILL give you an English lesson.

8 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

Hm...Do you speak French with your husband?
It happened to me too even though my French is very good but the accent sets off the bull against me:)
How is your eyesight btw? I hope it is going well.

Anonyme a dit…

Amen and amen!! You go girl! I just got back from the Prefecture and was amazed that they had NO ONE who spoke English in the department that deals with foreigners getting thier Cartes de Sejour. Preposterous!

Starman a dit…

I like it when they correct me. That's how I learn.

Betty C. a dit…

This hasn't happened to me recently but did some at the beginning and is most annoying.

BTW, I was surprised that in Paris, service workers started speaking to me immediately in English, and with a smile too! This is a relatively new development. I didn't mind but it felt funny since nobody here in Aveyron ever breaks into English.

In their defense, I think the French have been corrected so much in their school system that they think it's the right thing to do.

I teach in a school where the second year college students have to go on a foreign internship, and they are always surprised -- and a little disappointed -- that nobody corrects them!

amerigirl a dit…

Unfortunately, the this is the favorite of French "games", even amongst each other. My hubby, who is French, is constantly complaining that his co-worker correct his French. And being from the southwest he sometime uses words common there but not used in the southeast.

Sometimes people try to correct my English, as if they know more English than I do and they are constantly telling me about Americans even though they don't know many (me) and they have never been to America. But they feel like they are well informed from TV and other media outlets.

Our Juicy Life a dit…

I too like it when they correct me, because then I learn, but sometimes I say something and they repeat it EXACTLY the way I think I said it..I'm sure it's different because I have an accent, but it's frustrating. We'll always have an accent, oh well..at least we are living in france.

Astrid a dit…

Apart from "le week-end" and "le parking", what do you think of "Ze People", the coolest of the cool words they now use all over TV when talking about celebrities??


kyh a dit…

hi there... nice cool blog u have here. I've been dreaming of going to France, and Provence tops my list besides Paris. It's nice to know the laid-back life in a picturesque region like Provence.

And I find it quite rude if people comer forward to correct my grammar and spelling if I were there to order something. U're right girl, give them an English lesson. LOL!

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