I’m coming at you at 2:10AM because weird schedules are weird. Alors, bonjour, mes amis Français! Ça va bien? Il est onze heures dix du matin là-bas… vous avez fait de beaux rêves?
I’ve said this before: Callaghan’s English is excellent, and his French accent is so slight that I usually don’t even notice it. But every once in a while, he makes mistakes, and when his accent does reach my ears, it’s often to amusing effect. For instance, he says “fuckus” instead of “focus” (I think I’ve mentioned this in the past), and “bitch” instead of “beach.”
The examples I’m providing below all came directly out of Callaghan’s mouth verbatim, and in complete seriousness. I wrote them down after he said them. Yes, I’ve been keeping a file of the Callaghanisms. They’re priceless.
Let’s get started!
“My friend Christopher had a Ford Fuckus.”
“I’m tired today. I can’t fuckus.”
“When we’re in Antibes, we can go see the bitch.”
“Tomorrow we’ll visit the bitch of Normandy.”
And other words with the long ‘e’ vowel sound, such as…
“I need a shit of paper.”
“Let’s put the shits in the laundry.” (my personal favorite!)
I’ve started picking up on some patterns. Here are three, with examples:
1). Combining non-American word usage with a French accent results in dialogue like this:
“In high school, my nuts were great!”
“Haha! My notes. My grades.”
School grades in France are called “les notes.”
2). Direct translations don’t always work:
“That spider is waving at us with its paws.”
“Paws? Haha! That’s so cute!”
The French call spider legs “les pattes,” which is also their word for “paws.”
I love this mistake. I wish we said “spider paws” in English.
3). Some words are easily confused:
“Sorry I’m eating like a pork.”
“What’s so funny?”
“The expression is to ‘eat like a pig’.”
In French, the word “le porc” refers to the meat of a pig, just like in English… but it can also be used as slang in reference to a person. Unlike in English.
After I wrote this post (which pretty much wrote itself, since I had all the Callaghanisms saved in a file), Callaghan decided that it was lacking a drawing of a French superhero, so he offered to whip one up for me:
And now, a bonus! I’ll sign off with a French film recommendation for your weekend… because I’ve been glancing up at this DVD while writing about humorous French-to-English accent and translation goofs, and the two things somehow go together. This film is a quirky black comedy, and I think it’s brilliant. It’s been my favorite French black comedy since I first saw it back in the 90’s.
Delicatessen was directed and co-written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who directed and co-wrote the more well-known film Amélie about a decade later. Both comedies are off-beat, but Delicatessen is quirky and dark where Amélie is whimsical and light. Both are quite funny in their odd little ways. Hey! These two complimentary Jean-Pierre Jeunet films would make for a great movie night double feature, n’est pas?
Bonsoir, et bon weekend à tous!