Thursday, November 12, 2009

The F-word...

There is an awful lot of Franglais spoken in our house. Sometimes a word in English or French just works better, no matter what language the rest of the sentence is spoken in.

Like yesterday, my 5-year old little lady said 'mommy, she put her microbes on my bon bon'. It took me a few seconds to translate from 5-year old spoken English with randomly placed French words to realize that her sister had put germs, not a microphone, on her candy.

This was a good example of her picking up words at school that she didn't know in English. Germs aren't really a big topic of discussion here, they know they need to wash their hands, but that's as fanatical as it gets at our house. We don't dwell on germs, not with 2 dogs in the house, so I'm sure they have probably never heard me say the word.

(I think the French word microbe is much more visual, and slightly more frightening to a 5-year old. It's right up there with other frightening words she has picked up in French, like maladie, gastro, and piqûre. I love it when words sound like what they mean.)

I can't help thinking how lucky they are to have two languages to help them find exactly les mots justes to express themselves. Franglais is often referred to with a negative connotation, or can sound quite pretentious if used too randomly, but for now it seems like the official language of the Dukedom, and that's just fine by me. So the little ladies may never make into the Académie Française, but I love the fact that they have a few different ways of telling me that they love me...

8 comments:

poppy fields said...

We are master Franglais parleurs in our chez nous!
And it's so true that there are some words in each language that better express what one is trying to say.

Almost American said...

My favorite mot juste is décalage

The Duchess said...

Thanks Meredith, glad to know it's not just us!
AA- love the word décalage, so nice to say...

tammyps said...

Another house of Franglais parleurs here in the Cevennes. Actually, you can throw in Dutch too. We're developing our own little version of Esperanto, despite our best efforts...

And if one must swear, saying Scheiße! (sounds like shaizer) in German is just about perfect. Swearing in an unfamiliar language be so satisfying. Until the little ones catch on.

La Belette Rouge said...

Your girls are very lucky to have access to two languages. I had a German nanny and I went to a Montessori where they taught us French and I took Spanish in school and later in life I had a Swedish boyfriend. So, I sprinkle my English with lots of foreign words that allow me to say what english can't.

The Duchess said...

Tammy/La Belette,
I wish I'd had access to another language before the age of 13, my French accent might be more comprehensible if I'd had!;-)

Linda said...

'la grippe' is scary! It always puts me in mind of the Middle Ages and plagues. Notices re same on schools near us.

Nice blog b.t.w. been reading for a while, must do better at commenting.

The Duchess said...

Thanks for you comment, Linda, nice to see you! 'grippe' is pretty good, another one of those does what it says kind of words.