Thursday, January 10, 2008

Advanced French Lesson Numero Une...or is it Un?

So, did anyone catch my mistake yesterday? I believe I should have said "un" when I said "une".

This leads up to my next topic: Mistakes in French. Fellow Francofiles, we all have them, right? Please tell me I'm not the only one who has told the entire table during a dinner party that I was drunk, when I in fact meant "I'm full"!
I've also repeatedly said I was "aroused" when I meant excited,as in, "I'm excited to go shopping today! Are you excited for your wedding next month?" Another faux pas was several times of the usage of a word I thought to mean "breast" when I was discussing breastfeeding. What I said was actually a vulgar word that a woman would never use when discussing her own.
Nothing compares to the mistakes that Hubby made, though. My dear, sweet husband said such a vulgar word in church that no one would translate. When he was trying to say dog in French, it came out all wrong. (Can anyone guess what word came out?) Or howabout the time he used "con" instead of "quand"...wait, did I say time? I meant timesssss (plural). He still struggles with this one.
It's not hard to say conard instead of canard, and who can tell if baisser has one "s" or two? No American I know!

I remember my uncle's stories about his first months in France. He was terrified to leave the apartment. But one day when he thought he finally had enough French down to venture out onto the streets of Toulouse and try some out, he got cocky. He thought he was past the old fashioned "bonjour"...he wanted to be cool and say "Salut!" (pronounced sal-ew) So as he walked down the rue he greeted all the shopkeepers with a super cool "Salop!" instead (sal-oh). This means bastard.
As I prepare for our upcoming trip, I might want to rethink my procrastination in brushing up on my French. I'm sure that I will have some real doozies to post about on Cassoulet Cafe. Let me serve as a warning to others.


Cécy said...

That's a good one. And yes you are right, you should have used UN.
It is quite tricky to get the masculine and feminine, but it is indeed even harder when a wrong pronunciation makes you swear at people when you are trying to be polite.
Good luck. My husband is starting to learn French through Rosetta Stone, it promises to be funny.

Cris in Oregon said...

I'm still chuckling about your uncle and his Walk thru town. I bet they thought, Oh boy here comes another crazy American. LOL
And I bet your Hubby still cringes over that 'Dog' remark in church. LOL
If you didn't mess up now and then what fun would that be.. there would be no funny stories to tell.;)

La Belette Rouge said...

Coco Chanel/Chantal,
I am not one to be correcting any one's French. Ugh, I fear the horrible faux pas I will make in France.

These innocent mistakes are certainly forgiven by those who hear our American accidents( I mean accent's:-)

Your poor uncle, calling a passer by a Bastard. LOL!!!

I had a Swedish boyfriend who called "kitchen's" chickens and for him chickens were kitchens. I would laugh at him and never told him what was so funny. Mean, I know. But, it was funny:-)

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Did you guess what word my hubby said instead of "chien"? :) I don't know how to spell it, but it sounds similar to an American ear. Let me know what you think of Rosetta Stone. J'espere que ton Hubby va faire de suis sure que ca sera rigolo!

I'm still trying to get a good definition for what he REALLY said...most people just laugh and blush when we tell the story, and say lots of "oh laaaa"s.

Speaking of American accents, a few times after speaking French to a shopkeeper and making a purchase, they ended the transaction with a "danke" (however you spell that German word). Weird, huh? One time a cyber cafe owner said, "Oh I like your accent!" and thinking he thought I was German, I said, "merci, je suis americaine" and he said flatly, "Oui. Je sais."

Can't win for losin', as they say.

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Oh, PS:
There was a Swedesh exchange student when I was in High School, and he turned all J's into Y's. One day on the bus he was laughing and talking and then said, "Ooops, I spit on your yacket."
I never let him live that down.

Samantha said...

Aw, this was a cute post - just a petite correction though - I think your uncle probably said "salaud" (sal-oh) and not "salope" (sal-op)which means slut. Not that that's any better, LOL.

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Thank you so much for the correction! :) I only heard the story, so I assumed he said salop....LOL...I am laughing because it's so appropriate for this post...MISTAKES!

I actually love being corrected in French because it means one less idiocy I may commit later.

By the way, I'm honored you came by my site! :)

Please feel free to help me with my French at any time. We leave in two months.


Samantha said...

I think it just comes with the territory - I've made plenty of mistakes in my day, including telling a 70 year old French woman that American food was filled with préservatifs, and mispronuncing Vladmir Putin's name in French (just think about that one)!! :-) I guess the good thing is those are the mistakes you remember and you don't make twice!!

My Inner French Girl said...

Ah, CC, but that's just part of the fun of learning a language! ;-) The more mistakes you make, the more you're obviously using the language. After all, you never make a mistake if you never speak the language. It's a lesson I constantly tried to instill in my English students in Japan, to very little effect.

If nothing else, you give the locals something funny to discuss at their local cafe.


Anonymous said...

HA! I remember saying "salope" when I was supposed to say "salute"

Yeah, laugh it up.

And don't get me started on the horse/hair word fiasco!

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Hilarious! I said the P word really loudly (I was informed), not knowing what it was (I was asking WHAT it was) and embarassed my friend! :) I'll remember this time not to even TRY to say Vladmir Putin. haha!
As for the preservatifs...yep, i said that one too. ONCE.

Why oh why are the words for horse and hair so dang similar to our American ears and mouths? :) I do that one all the time, as well as kitchen/cousin.
At least it's not as bad as when the French try to say "sheet", as in a sheet of paper. It comes out all wrong every time! :)

Anne Corrons said...

Un and une, féminin et masculin, are very difficult for people when they learn French! English is easier!

Cécy said...

I think I can guess yes.
As far as Rosetta Stone, he's only done 30mn so far. He could remember a few words, which is already a progress by itself. I'll keep you updated.