Sunday, September 18, 2016

Dreaming of France -- English in France


Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

Sometimes, I think people who speak another language use a word in English when they don't really know the impact of it.
Here's a photo to illustrate this point.

Can you imagine a store in the United States putting this word on its shop window?
Grace has a t-shirt with this word on it and we caution her to wear it inside out.
I figure that this shop owner probably spoke French and knew what the word meant, but maybe didn't understand its shock value. I'm sure it isn't shocking to the French, just like the British use of the word "bloody" seems not very profane to us in the U.S.
When a French teenager was staying with us, he would say "shut up." I had to explain that the words "shut up" were considered rude and we wouldn't say them, even to children. I offered him the words "be quiet" instead.
Have you heard people who speak another language accidentally use bad language in English before? I'm sure everyone has a story.
Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France.

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7 comments:

Sim Carter said...

Interesting! And in terms of Brits, the bloody doesn't bother me as I grew up with British parents BUT the use of the C-word so common and I find it appalling. I wonder if for them it's similar to the way we use 'dick' ... like it's not a big deal? Crazy!

I posted a picture on my Instagram just for you today, and that's what I've shared today. You would love Maison Midi here in LA, I didn't include their website on my post so here it is if you want to visit online: https://www.maison-midi.com/

francetaste said...

I see this all the time! And I've been the victim myself, in French. When somebody asks you, "do you want an apple or an orange?" and you think either is equally good, you say, "I don't care" of "It doesn't matter." If your inflection is polite, it sounds perfectly nice--it means "I'll take the one that's most convenient for you to give me."
In French, there are different ways to say it:
Ça m'est égal: it's the same to me. Most polite.
N'importe: not important (doesn't matter). Also polite.
Je m'en fiche: I don't care. Less polite. It means really that you don't care, and no matter how sweetly you say it, you are implying that the question is below you.
Je m'en fou: I don't care but in an impolite way. This phrasing gets kids in trouble if they say it at school. Husband used it all the time (I never even heard "je m'en fiche" or "ça m'est égal). So I repeated it, like a kid. So embarrassing!

ourfrenchoasis.com said...

The f word is used all the time here in France, frequently in songs on the radio when it is never beeped out! When we lived in the USA, for a long time I used the word twat. It's such an English word, meant in England for someone who is silly or stupid but in a fun sort of way, I would always call the children, silly twats, or something jokingly, I never realised what it meant in the USA or that it was not an accepted word, until a friend told me that I might not want to say it so loudly!

Paulita said...

Ha ha. Loving your stories.
Sim, I had no idea the brits used the C word all the time. I assume you mean the C word for a woman's vagina.
Francetaste, Thanks for the warning about Je m'en fou. I'm sure they give you some leeway.
Our French Oasis, Yes, twat is unacceptable here. Now a silly twit would be fine.

krishna said...

ha ha ha .. cut shop is the best.. :D

Just Me said...

Shocking to the system but also really fascinating and humorous

Paulita said...

Krishna, Yes, it is funny.
Just Me, I agree. It just doesn't have the same meaning over there.

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