The benefits of playing the non-native speaker card!

Have you ever had one of those moments where you say something in a foreign language and then realise, by the reaction to your words, that you have made a major blooper?

On a school French exchange several [okay, many!] years ago, I stayed in a lovely household with a mum and dad, two children and a grandma.  One evening, the mother asked me in French if I would prefer to eat dinner in the kitchen or the living room.  Delighted I finally had the chance to use an expression I had picked up in a guide book, which apparently meant I don’t mind, I very proudly stated: ‘Je m’en fous.’  I was rather taken aback to see the grandma’s chin hit the floor and the children collapse in a fit of giggles.  Assuming it was my accent, or some grammatical gaffe, I asked my French teacher the next day why it was such a shocker.  You can imagine my surprise to hear that I had said the French equivalent of ‘I don’t give a f**k.’

The moral of the story? Make sure you refer to a reputable guide book!

2 thoughts on “The benefits of playing the non-native speaker card!

  1. You wouldn’t believe how much it sounds like my every day life!)))

    At the very early dating stage of relationship with my husband, I was trying to impress him with my culinary skills. One night I was working my magic on some beef dish making loud bashing noises with the meat tenderiser.

    “What’s going on? What are you doing?” asked my then boyfriend who was watching TV (as you would!) in a different room.

    “I am beating the meat!” I exclaimed.

    … the conversation proceeded with a long discussion about English Slang..

    However, I am more intrigued by the answer to the following question: Were you fed that night at all?!

  2. That’s brilliant Anastasia! You must tell us more of your gaffes!!! Indeed, they did feed me, but I do recall a little bit of a silence around the room….

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