I had a French lesson with Claude the yellow Labrador yesterday when I was out walking with mum. For those of you who don’t know me that well yet, I decided to start to learn French after meeting THE DREADED CHLOE. Up until then I’d always thought that French folk were thick because they couldn’t speak English – I thought they could only speak gobbledegook. I didn’t know that there was such a thing as the French language. Of course, Chloe put me straight!
I only have sporadic lessons ‘cause it depends entirely on mum and which walk she decides to go on. If she goes on the one that takes us past Claude’s house then that’s when I get to see him because he’s always running loose, despite his mum being English (but his dad’s French so I suppose that explains it). Claude usually joins us on our walk and mum doesn’t mind because i) he needs the exercise (he has a liberal coating of adipose tissue), and ii) mum’s got a soft spot for Labradors.
It’s quite good fun walking with Claude ‘cause it means we can talk ‘man stuff’ and have a sociable pee together. Human men like to pee together too don’t they? It must be another ‘man thing’. Women pee all alone don’t they? I know that mum always pees in her own toilet with the door firmly shut (unless we go on a VERY long walk – then she sometimes finds a bush), but often when Uncle Hugh takes me out at night for my last pee he tends to join me for a pee against the tree at the bottom of our garden – but don’t tell mum, I don’t think she’d like it.
Anyway, I’m digressing. When I walk with Claude, that’s when I also have my French lesson and yesterday he told me that my French was ‘assay mal’, which means ‘quite bad’. He says I sound like an English dog speaking French, and I said “Well…duhhh…I am an English dog speaking French! What do you expect me to sound like?” He said it wasn’t good enough to just speak French, he said I had to adopt the accent otherwise I’d get mocked and get called an “Ongleesh”.
He said my ‘rrrrs’ are all wrong. He said I’ve got to say my ‘rrrrs’ by vibrating my epiglottis. I had no idea until that point that I even HAD an epiwhatever. He said, “Say them as if you’re trying to clear something from your throat.” So I tried and he said, “No, you’re hacking – that’s not the same. Pretend you’re a Glaswegian, they talk from the back of their throat.” A Glaswhat?
I’m starting to think that this French business isn’t such a good idea. I thought it would be easy to learn ‘cause all the little French kids can speak it ever so well, but now I reckon that all the French kids must be REALLY intelligent, ‘cause it’s not easy, believe me.
I mean, did you know that all French words are either men words or lady words? Yes, you heard right. I’m not joking. Honest, I’m not. It got my head in a right little tizzy when he first told me that.
“Don’t talk bollocks,” I said, rather vehemently & copying mum (she says that a lot). He’d forgotten that it wasn’t so long back that I’d been duped by those little minxes at the kennels – I write about that HERE. I wasn’t going to be fooled again. “Come on Claude, you can’t fool me.” “I’m not fooling you,” he said – trying to look all innocent. “I’m serious Henry, it’s an integral part of the French language. If you don’t believe me check it out on the internet.” “Oh stop it Claude. The whole world knows you’ve got issues but that’s taking it a bit too far. Tell me this – how on earth can a word be a man or a lady? And who decides what sex a word is? Words don’t have willies or boobies, for goodness’ sake.”
Then he tried to explain but it was SOOOO confusing and hard for a little dog brain to comprehend. I got very baffled about it - I mean REALLY confused. My head ended up all hot and bothered as I tried to grasp it, and I started feeling quite dizzy. Then I said, “If there are men and lady words then there must be gay ones…” Claude looked at me in a kind of bemused way and said, “What are you talking about you daft bugger?” “There must be gay ones,” I said, my voice sounding a tad shrill – I think I was approaching borderline hysteria at that point because I’d thought about it too hard, “There must be gay words ‘cause if there are men ones and lady ones there has to be gay ones,” and my brain was beginning to whirr and my head spin, “…don’t you get my point?” I’m asking him. “There must be gay words,” I kept saying over and over and my brain got hotter and hotter.
At that point Claude started shaking his head sadly and looking at me as if I were something badly injured that needed putting out of its' misery. He put his paw gently on my shoulder and said, in a very measured way, as if he were talking to an old dog suffering from dementia, “Henry, we’re talking about gender here, not sexual orientation. Calm down son. I think we’d better drop that one.”
So we did drop it, and he mumbled something about it not mattering much ‘cause I’m not going to be writing it or taking any tests or anything and that he’d think of a way around it.
I’m glad he dropped it because every time I think about it, my head still starts to spin.
So, that aside, after him telling me my French was ‘assay mal’ I’m starting to think that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea - this French business, ‘cause after all my lessons I still can’t understand hardly any of what he says to me in French and I can’t get my ‘rrrrs’ into gear. Any tips?
The clip below is FUNNY – put your reading glasses on ‘cause the subtitles are quite small and you MUST read them to get the joke.
.....I'm a Mini Schnauzer, which I reckon is the coolest breed on this planet. I've got grey hair, which isn't because I'm old -I was born in April 2005, so in case any cool, sexy lady dogs are reading this - I'm in my prime. I live in France at the moment but that may change very soon. I decided to start this blog because my mum's was having a bad time due to the Credit Munch and was ignoring my attempts to get her attention (worrying my basket, her socks, her slippers and looking very appealing with my big brown eyes). Mum lives with a guy called Hugh Bastard, at least I think that's his name. It's what she calls him from time to time, but she also calls him Sweet Hart. I call him Uncle Hugh.