Best French blops
One of my friends went to live in France, but he did not exactly speak French. One of his more famous blops was something he said when leaving his friends.
"Bisous par tout."
It means kisses everywhere, but what me meant to say was:
"Bisous pour tous."
Kisses for everyone.
I met his friends a year later, when my friend was not there anymore and it had become an internal joke. Everybody said their farewells with "Bisous par tout."
My best blop was when I approached the iconic old frenchmen, with the beret and the baguette under his arm to ask directions for Montmartre. I said a lot, he looked at me and said:
And proceeded to give me directions in English. French fail.
What are yours?
My worst, that I know about, was when I was very tired of walking and wanted directions to the Jardin du Luxembourg. My first words to a stranger were "Parlez-vous français?". After laughing at myself the day got much better. Though my wife still teases me about that gaffe 10 years later.
It means he is asking a Frenchman if he speaks French, when he wanted to ask him if he spoke English :)
I had supper (at an all you can eat buffet place) with a bunch of friends. 1 (male) didn't speak much French, lets call him Bob. 1 (female) didn't speak a word of English, lets call her France.
France explained to us (in French) that she and her boyfriend were at the casino last night and she won $500. Bob, wanting to carry on the conversation made an effort and tried to ask France (in French) what she played.
He asked "Qu'est-ce que t'as joué?" in a very English accent.
Everyone around the table understood him perfectly, except for France. She blushed, looked super surprised, and quite forcefully asked "Quoi!?!"
Bob, suddenly scared of what was going on, just started to say "uh...uh...uh..."
France's boyfriend then repeated what Bob had said. France said "Oh!" and then told us she played the slot machines.
10 minutes later, France and her boyfriend get up to get more food at the buffet. Her boyfriend comes back first, laughing his butt off (having just found out what France had heard). He explains to us that instead of hearing "Qu'est-ce que t'as joué?" after she had just said she won $500 dollars, she heard Bob ask "Est-ce que t'as joui?".
Bob couldn't look at her for the rest of the night.
I love this story! One question, though: can tu really be elided like that? I thought only the following words could be elided: je me te se le la de ne que jusque
EDIT: Ah, I see that it can be elided in informal French: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elision_(French)#Informal_French
The confusion between "jouir" and "jouer" (to play) is very common among my friends, lol.
Jouir can also have a non-sexual meaning, as in "jouir d'une bonne situation financière" (benefit from / take pleasure in a good financial situation), but in (too) many situations, the term is ambiguous enough not to risk it ;-).
Yes. But when it's alone... In old French, "jouir" was used with the meaning of "rejoice", it became sexual only later.
What a lapsus! For those who don't speak French. Je t'envie = I envy you. J'ai envie de toi = I want you (sexual desire)
Unfortunately it's pretty predictable, the girl I was speaking with at the time was describing the view from her house in the country, and I said "ah j'ai envie de toi" and her face just contorts with a look of "I cannot believe you just said that you american pig," and then she just burst out laughing and asked me what I meant. When she told me what I actually said, I was blushing for days. ( Granted, she was very attractive, so in hindsight, I guess on some level I wasn't lying x) )
I could have been worse. This is almost not a language problem as much as a freudian slip. :)
A friend of mine once, looking for the Gare du Nord, asked a Parisian but mispronounced one of the key words. The guy said "first of all, I speak English; second, the train station is this way; and third, you just asked me 'where is the war?'" ;-)
Be precise please, the Northern war... Something to do with the vikings, surely.
At a small rural restaurant in the south of France, where accents seem thicker, and with a waiter who appeared to have been drinking, my wife asked for a chicken breast in wine sauce (one of the few phrases she thought she remembered from high school French many years earlier). In due time a small critter with four legs pointing skyward was plated before her. We both leaned in to examine it closely and I said "first time I ever saw a chicken breast with four legs!".
Eventually I figured it must be a rabbit. She asked for 'un coq au vin' but the waiter heard 'le lapin'. That's why she asked me to take this Duo French course before we venture back into the wilds of southern France :)
Au mois de juin, nous allons passer à Saint-Rémy de Provence et Gordes pendant dix jours.
While staying in a b & b in the south of france, the lady of the house was explaining to me how she made a cake for her grandson (who lived in the north) and sent it in the post with a small gift for his birthday. She said he really looked forward to it. I said "parce que vous le faites avec l'amour" (incorrectly in my very poor french). There were lots of strange looks and waving hands until i worked out that i told her that she made it with the dead! (mort)......ooops....
A chinese friend of mine was looking for the "mairie" (city hall) but mispronunced and asked a stranger where she could find a "mari" (husband).
Recently read lots of funny french mistakes on the website below, they're hilarious!
My boss has a Midlands accent and swears that he went into a shop wanting a litre of milk, and after some very confused looks was pointed towards the vegetable section containing garlic. ("un litre du lait" in Brum sounds a bit like "un litre d'ail")
The expression "plein de" is like "beaucoup de" and is followed only by de, not de la.
I didn't know this and was talking about people with eyes full of hatred
"Ils me regardaient avec les yeux pleins de la haine"
Puzzled expressions then laughter from my audience. Someone explained they had heard
"…avec les yeux pleins de laine"
I edited my both of my "plein" to pleins - thanks Sitesurf :)
As the 'h' in haine is aspiré (aspirated), it's considered a consonant everywhere it has an impact.
There are two types of 'h' in the French language :
- The mute 'h' ('h' muet) : works like a vowel and isn't pronounced at all (hence the name, "mute");
- The aspirated 'h' ('h' aspiré ) : works like a consonant : it doesn't allow for elision (cutting a vowel from the preceding article and replacing with an apostrophe (' ) or liaison (adding the sound of the last letter of the preceding word to the beginning of the next). It is either not pronounced or pronounced by blowing air from the back of the throat in the same sound as the following letter (like a very soft Spanish 'j' sound), without so much as a distinct sound.
its a bit like 'ich bin ein berliner' when this man meant to say whilst he was in berlin 'i am a berliner' (as in someone who is part of berlin) but instead he said 'I am a dougnut'. He couldn't understand why everyone was laughing at him!:)
Actually, this Berliner story is kind of an urban legend: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ich_bin_ein_Berliner#Jelly_doughnut_misconception
Yes, indeed. I'm German, and the first time I heard about Kennedy's alleged linguistic blunder was when I visited the United States as a teenager. An American teacher of German talked about this legend as if it were a fact and apparently expected me to be amused by it. Unfortunately, I was too shy to contradict him at the time.
Kennedy's speech and especially the sentence "Ich bin ein Berliner" are very famous in Germany and have strong emotional connotations. They implied American political and military support after the building of the Berlin Wall, which cemented the partition of Germany. It's a bit as if the American president had said "I'm a New Yorker" or "We're all New Yorkers today" after 9/11. Nobody would have found these words particularly funny or mocked him for saying that he was a magazine.
Recently, I went on my first trip to France for spring break. The entire group (about 40 people) was trying to squeeze into the crowded metro cars in Paris at peak time, so it was a tight fit.
My French teacher and I got into an especially crowded car and it got a little rough. Among my usual expressions of "pardon" and "excusez-moi", I slipped in a "désolé beaucoup".
The correct phrase is "(je suis) très désolé". I basically said "many sorry".
Good thing that was my biggest mistake.
If you like these kind of word mixups and calembours in French, try to find texts, videos (youtube has many) or audio from Sol, a comic French Canadian character interpreted by Marc Favreau. He wrote delightful texts where we plunge into 2nd and 3rd and 4th degrees of comprehension, sometimes laughing, others crying because there are social critiques in his numbers. He is Canadian, but never uses canadianisms, so his texts are understood for anyone understanding French. Here's an example from his texts about the elderly people.
It makes me think of Raymon Devos. A good one. Do you have the same accent Bastou?
Funny story about my accent : the first time I went to France, I was there by myself backpacking for about one month out of a two month trip (second half was in Spain). After about 3 days in Paris where people made me repeat 3 to 6 times or just answered in English (they answered to the question, so they understood for sure!), I got fed up and faked a French accent. I didn't have any problem getting understood but people were intrigued where I was from because I used no expression or accent from any France region. People started out rude to me when I got in Perpignan, in the French part of Catalogne (the region who wants to secede from Spain, it has a border with France), until I said I was Canadian, then they became much more friendly! ;-)
Lol. French people forget to often the Canadian accent is the genuine French accent, preserved.
Loving these! It's not just the English who make embarrassing errors, we had a young frenchman staying with us who wanted to find some temporary work, he said he didn't mind what he did and he would be perfectly happy with a hand job. After shrieking with laughter I then had to explain why this wasn't something to say to a prospecive employer.
Bisous partout, yes = kisses everywhere, lol. Not really kisses for everyone. It's very dangerous if you're come in France and you're not able to distinguish between the French "U" sound, and the "OU" sound, do you know why?
Funny. Though I feel bad for the guy, they should've corrected him! :) Plus, it could just be is poor accent.
They eventually corrected him. It was more a case of mistaken translation from Portuguese than bad accent. He translated "Beijos para todos". "Para" in PT means "to". It's a fine line when you have a friend that is learning the language, you cannot correct every little mistake or it gets annoying.