There are just some things that sound BETTER when said by a French person. Fact.
Exhibit A: A French man.
No, I’m not talking about your bog standard “French” phrases, such as “voulez vous coucher avec moi, ce soir” (“do you want to sleep with me tonight”, popularised massively by the 2001 smash hit, Moulin Rouge [of which I only remember the Green Fairy/absinthe part]) or “ah, la vache!” (“oh, my cow!”) 0r [insert other cliche French phrase that everyone uses when they’re pretending to be French but no French person actually says].
Nope. The stuff that the French rock at saying, in my opinion, are English sentences. English witterings. The day-to-day. Things that I’ve been hearing nearly every day for 22 and ¾ years, courtesy of the fromag-ier fraction of my family.
I thought I’d share some of the best with you.
(NOTE: I would’ve provided soundbites to push this article to the NEXT LEVEL, but I currently live two hours away from whom I’m largely basing this on – my Dad – thus he is unavailable to comment/help me artistically. So you will have to use your imagination. Or privately message me and I’ll give you his number [trolling.])
“What an amazing piece of driving!”
Pronounced by a French man (my Dad): “What en emay-zing peez ov dray-veng”
Context: My Dad pulling a miraculous move on Mario Kart, complementing the moment with his even more miraculous accent and slightly-messed-up English. It was amazing, to be fair to him. I still won though (important).
“Two whales fucking the shit out of each other.”
Pronounced by a French woman (my auntie): “Turr way-uls fooking ze sheet owt ov each oder”
Context: Cards Against Humanity. Need I say more?
I wish I’d pre-empted this being said so I could’ve recorded it and made it my ringtone forever. Unfortunately, it was just a perfect moment in history that can never truly be shared with anybody else. A tragedy.
“You really whooped my ass.”
Pronounced by a French man (hey, Dad): “You hreally wupped mai ass”
Context: A beautifully accented acknowledgement of my badass-ery at video games. Thanks, Dad. I did “hreally wupp” your ass. I will “wupp” it again.
“What is an orgy?”
Pronounced by a French woman (my innocent cousin): “Hwhat eez an argh-gy?”
Context: Cards Against Humanity. Again. Obviously. Any other answer would be worrying.
What made this moment even better is that “orgy” in French is literally “orgie”. The “i” and “e” clearly make all the difference.
Pronounced by a French man (… hi Dad): “See-sle.”
Context: Nothing sounds more adorable than a middle-aged French man saying “Thistle hotel” worriedly to himself while he (along with you, your Mum and brother) wander the streets of Glasgow trying to find the hotel you booked, all the while panicking about being stabbed. We were/are a paranoid set. Aah. Fond memories.
“I cannot BELIEVE it!”
Pronounced by a French man (MON PERE): “Ay cannot bel-EEV eet!”
An image of the French individual in question unable to “bel-EEV” the amount of cheap-ass wine around him. In all fairness, it was pretty unbelievable.
Context: When things happen which he cannot believe, this beautiful phrase, “Ay cannot bel-EEV eet”, is often grandly put forth, in such a fabulous way that you’ll be inclined to do shocking things all the time, such as backflip off the top of your garage or eat a raw hash brown, just to invoke it.
“Sticky toffee pudding.”
Pronounced by a French man (Mr. Alexis Demaude): “Stocky tiffee pudding.”
Context: This has nothing to do with his being French, this is all to do with a massive error in SAYING WORDS. But it was so good at the time I thought it deserved an Honourable Mention.
*Singing along to KT Tunstall*
Pronounced by a French man (Dad Demaude): “Pay ma leep seervass, keep it ell-o-quant, opt-eem-eestic buht, nevar kw-ight ell-a-gent, steel a weeer-doh, steel a weer-doooh, efter ahl deez yeyars.”
Context: I am basically privy to this Celine Dion level of brilliance every time we get in a car together. Family road trips are a musical tour de force.
*Reading the Harry Potter series from the start for my amusement*
Pronounced by a French woman (Gran-alan): *endless jargon*
Context: If you know a French person, demand they read ‘Arry Pottarr to you immediately. No experience can surpass or replace it. Many bedtime’s were greatly improved by French renditions of The Philosopher’s Stone.
(Not a successful tactic if you actually want your child to go to sleep, however. It will not work. That child’s not sleeping. Laughing until they’re crying, yes. Bugging you to read the same line over and over, yes. But not sleeping. Anything but.)