30 September 2009

To French Speakers! (or those who aren't impervious to humour, like Paige Neuenschwander)

From my former French teacher Mademoiselle Irene Kim's blog:

Remember in the MTC when literally translating expressions like, “I’m pickin’ up what you’re throwing down” (for those of you who speak french, we’d say, “Je ramasse ce que vous jetez par terre.” ha ha ha) was really funny? well to me, those things still are funny, and now it works the other way around, French to English. And to add to it, I’m like a child when it comes to hearing swear words in French, and it just makes me giggle. I can get into a spectator mode when I am surrounded by Second Language and it’s like i’m watching it on tv. It’s just not that real. So the extra step of literally translating those things just adds to the entertainment.

I won’t burden you with the actual French, but I will tone it down and give you the translation. So let’s say you’re late and running to the train, but it whizzes by as you reach the platform. Two seconds too late. One might say in English, “Agh! That sucks!” Here, the translation would be, “Agh! That makes me crap!” or, if you’re really mad adding a “Hooker!” in the mix always adds some spunk. So it would be, “Agh! Hooker! That makes me crap!” Think about that sentence for a second.. it’s pretty good. Anyway, the “That makes me crap” phrase is pretty versatile because you can actually use it with people as well. For example, if someone were bothering you, you might say, “I can’t handle her,” or, “She’s killing me,” or “She’s so annoying.” Here, they can simply say, “She makes me crap.” Not bad, eh?

Expressions of surprise are all pretty good too. Let’s say you just found out your friend has to pay a $500 speeding ticket. You could say any of the following to show you’re shocked: “Hooker!” (Once again this comes up… believe me, I’m not exaggerating about the omnipresence of this word. It’s everywhere.) “Mashed potatoes!”, “Thumbtack!”, or “The cow!” Don’t believe what you hear, no one actually says, “Sacré bleu!”

I could go on about how screaming “YOUR FACE” means “Shut the F up” and how there are about 8 different words for face, each with a slightly differing degree of politeness, but it’s almost 2 AM and i’m going to choose bed. Thank you for reading, and try to incorporate, “Thumbtack!” the next time you’re surprised… it’s not a natural reaction.

C'est amusant, n'est-ce pas? Tres drole.

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