Monday, September 22, 2008

What's in a Word Anyway

So I got to thinking after my "brake" down the other day. How screwed up is my English now that I've been living in France for over 5 years? Better yet, how screwed up is my American now that I've been married to an Englishman for almost 7 years?

I remember clearly the first time I went to the English speaking play group here in the city. I showed up at the park du jour and introduced myself to everyone there. Conversation flowed, as it does with any English speakers dying for a chance to speak English (as I was), and we started talking about our kids, our kids' stuff, and all that happy mommy talk. I remember seeing BVJC (Beautiful Version of Julia Child) looking at me like I was a nut bag as I talked about my nappies and pushchairs with my American accent.

The truth is, I'm all muddled up with my languages now. And though I try not to make a big knot out of naught, sometimes I get my words mixed up.

Like this weekend when a French friend asked me to tell them how to say vide grenier in English. Literally, it's 'empty attic' but that's not really what it is. I finally said,

"It's a boot fair. Wait, no, I mean a flea market. Sorta."

English! There's always a catch! Do you want to speak American English or English English? Shall we talk about driving on the pavement or parking in the driveway? Is it a chip or a crisp or just a silly old French fry? Is that my neighbour or my neighbor? And where is that English movie theatre or theater anyway?

Then there's the one that still gets me. Hubster looking out at the sea from his parents house telling me "there's a buoy in the water."

If you are American, you're thinking, "a buoy? Big deal?"

But if you are English, it's a "BuOY" out there. And that scared the crap outta me. Why wasn't someone going to save him?!

I'll just have to accept that I'm slowly losing the grasp of my native language and I will be heading for a linguistical breakdown any day.

Worst part is, I can't even seek shelter in my French since both Mini-Husband and The Princess now take great delight in correcting me all the time.

Darn it all. Bloody heck. Merde.

9 comments:

diane said...

Better come live back in the States awhile and get reaclimated. One of your kids ought ot be born here anyway.

kissmekaty said...

I agree with the born in America comment! Plus, in the evenings in rural Kansas, which is it's own country, we like to ponder things; Like, If a cow laughs, does milk come out their nose? Why do larger size swimsuits for larger size women have padded bras? HELLO!!! We are trying to hide our size, (possibly stupid male designer) And, why do we drive on parkways and park in driveways! xoxoxo


A bit of a ramble to get to the harassment part, but hopefully it made you smile! ;)

hubster dave said...

In English its pronounced like "boy", not "boowee"... I think our version is closer to the reality !!!

And whats more, only people my parents age call them movie theatres, the rest call them cinemas...

Finally, just for a chuckle, theres the "baguette moulé" (moo-lay) ie a soft baguette, not to be confused with a "baguette mouillé" (mwee-yay) which would be a baguette soaked in water ...

Heres to the next seven years...

;-)

Sue said...

At least you didn't use "putain"!

Kitty said...

And I thought the Baltimore accent wass ingular but it seems like a very small part of the language confusion. Watch out for the pickstures, chimleys and pavements. . .
Love ya Hon!

Kitty said...

And I thought the Baltimore accent wass ingular but it seems like a very small part of the language confusion. Watch out for the pickstures, chimleys and pavements. . .
Love ya Hon!

Nomad said...

Movie theater? Do you mean the flicks? Or the pictures? ;)

Sue said...

And there is that all adorable...amblance.

Mooster said...

i understood that last word hahahahahaha