Friday, December 16, 2011

Take that, in whatever language

From Sep 28, 2010
Tonight marked the beginning of French class for me. Our instructor is absolutely adorable, and of course, very French. She was telling us a story about when she was living and working abroad in an expat community. Her boss was American and used the F-word all the time. She had an inkling that it wasn't a nice word, but didn't realize that it was the granddaddy of bad words. Her boss asked her to work on the f-ing report and give it back to him the following week.

She willingly completed the report, handed it to him and said "there's your f-ing report." Her boss's supervisor heard her say that, took her aside, and asked her if she knew what the word meant. She thought it was something along the lines of "stupid." She was absolutely mortified when she learned the actual meaning of it.

That's always a fear when learning another language and trying to operate in that language's world; will you commit a faux pas? [Will there be fox paws?] At worst, will you say something horribly offensive and get yourself in trouble, or at best, will you call yourself a doughnut? Such are the joys of different languages.
And I apologize to the French language; I did things to it tonight that no language ever deserves. It was bad (but the instructor was so sweet and supportive, even though my pronunciation was probably like nails on a chalkboard to her).

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