Lost in Translation

Sometimes… when I want to show people how cultured and sophisticated I am, I like to throw in one or two words of French in my conversation like this:

Hey… do you know if Mark and Jess are still together?

Hmmm peut-etre. Pourquoi???

Meh, I just heard some stuff.

In most circumstances I’ve been in, the individual I’m having a conversation with me understands what I am saying because they are:

a) Canadians from Ontario and have suffered through the same poor Ontarian educated French classes that I also endured or;

b) fellow exchange students studying in Belgium with me.

But recently I find my conversations these days going something like this:

Wait, did the lady say we only pay 20% and insurance covers rest?

Je ne sais pas.  Je suis confused. Je miss l’healthcare libre.


I’m then reminded that there’s a language barrier between Americans and me.  The language confusion goes both ways when one day I asked my roommate over GTalk:

Are you going to the gym after work?

No. Por que?

Huh?  Does she not know how to spell?

I turned around to point it out to her only to be met with her response “It’s Spanish”, followed by a We’re in California so duh it’s Spanish look.

So my fellow Canadian friends and readers, be prepared that when I return to Toronto, I will be dropping Spanish words here and there to look sophisticated, well traveled, and worldly.

  1. One thing I found when I lived in New Mexico was that “New Mexican Spanish” is waaaaaayy different than traditional Spanish, hardly interchangable. I can’t ever remember hearing French spoken in the States, not even Louisiana.

    • Leigh Anne
    • March 22nd, 2012

    Thank goodness I took one year of spanish in high school. We can continue to communicate. Que Passa? Yo Quireo Taco Bell Et le poutin Quebecois. comprende?

  2. Interesting indeed. The world become really global. Border less society. The language become so mixed still each one of us understand each other.

    • Very true. Latin based languages overlap immensely and even Asian countries are adapting English slangs in their English. It’s so cool to see the gap close but at the same time, very imperative that languages don’t become extinct.

  3. For some twisted and strange reason, I can relate. This is so weird, considering I’m Asian and I don’t speak French that well. Bah. Nice though.

    • Lol. Whenever I speak Cantonese, I have to incorporate english into the conversaton, and that’s not to seem sophiscated, but rather sadly I can’t carry a conversation fully in Chinese.

      • Whoa. And you speak Cantonese. Try incorporating snippets of all those languages and you’d sound like an extraterrestrial being. So much for that sophistication. Haha.

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