Adventures in francophonie

Montreal is awesome. I am doing better than expected with speaking French - instead of avoiding French altogether I string together these mangled franglais thoughts in my mind and occasionally spew them out to whoever my victim is. Example:

Shuttle driver with French-Canadian accent: Which hotel are you going to?
Me: Le Fairmont Reine Elizabeth¹.
SDWFCA: Fairmont Reine Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth?
Me: Oui. Yes.
SDWFCA: Vous parlez français? You speak English?
Me: (stammers) Oui. Yes. Les deux. Both. Je parle... I speak, yeah.

So yeah, that was clear. And efficient. Let's speak both languages at once! And translate for ourselves!

Later in the day I had an exchange with a Tim Horton's counterperson who refused to believe that I didn't speak French. I do speak French, but not when it's mumbled quietly into the counter in a heavy Canadian accent.

Counterperson: Bonjour.
Me: Hi, I would like an egg salad sandwich please. (I had chosen to do this in English because I just KNEW that if I tried to say "oeufs" I would pronounce the stupid F and embarass myself even though I KNOW the F is not pronounced!)
Counterperson: kszvnzsoic jwoijosijf brun?
Me: Huh?
Counterperson: Do you want it on white bread or brown?
Me: Uh, brown.
Counterperson: imcoisoiajeroiwehjro iosclkmao owinc?
Me: Huh?
Counterperson: Do you want anything else?
Me: Uh, no.
Counterperson: owierjoinoinowipaojclxkjnzlziz.
Me: Huh?
Counterperson: That's $4.49 [or some such outrageous price for a pretty lame fast food sandwich].

Every new thing she had to tell me, she tried in French first. It's like she thought "She didn't understand me the last time I tried, but maybe she's learned my language in the last few seconds."

¹ You know who else stayed here? John Lennon, that's who. Boo-yeah!

srah - Wednesday, 24 May 2006 - 6:31 PM
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Comments (2)

gravatar Allison - June 12, 2006 - 12:47 PM -

On the History Channel, they said that one of the signs that a person needs an exorcism is that the ability to speak a language that they should not realistically know. If that Tim Horton's counterperson's assumption was correct - that you learned the language in the last few seconds - then you could have traded her your $4.49 for HER SOUL!!

gravatar Nico - June 24, 2006 - 10:41 AM -

Funny conversation :D

Hope you'll be used with french-quebecois.

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