Friday, January 9, 2009

My French is merde.

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.


LadyFi said...

Very funny clip!

And it is quite confusing at first to learn about genders (in words, I mean)... gets even more confusing if you have to learn a language that conjugates too in many different forms...

Your post about Chloe was hilarious too.

Oh - and by the way - I think you have a lovely rrrrrrrrrrs!

As for peeing - well human females usually pee together (it's a social thing). Men like to have peeing competitions - my 5 yr old son and his friends like to pee cross-wise to each other, seeing if they can hit each other's pee streams as they miss the toilet bowl and splash on the floor...

Braja said...

Ha!!! OMG I LOVE THAT! That is just the kind of thing that makes me laugh...:))

Lee said...

Surely there must be some connection to "gay Paree"? No? Well it was an idea.

Blu said...

Tips, hang around bars, learn to sing French songs, in your case howl..Henry its well hard this French speak, I would be well stuck without the subtitles on French tv. But lets hope that pennies will drop for us both soon, or maybe euros!

PS I didnt bring a bomb! word veri

Stinking Billy said...

Henry, That clip, how droll the punch-line, monsewer. ;-)

J Cosmo Newbery said...

My trouble is that I like playing with words too much to be pure with any one language. The result? Franglais! Fermez votre gateau hole!

La Belette Rouge said...

Henry, if you want to be a Frenchy dog you have to drop the y in your name and add an i. Oh, and you must insist to be taken into restaurants. I would love to hear barking with a French accent. Le bark. Le ruff.

Braja said...

Do we have to call you Onree now? Oh I don't know if I like that... and "le bark?" La Belette Rouge is funny; but I swear if I heard that coming out of your snout I'd think you were taking the p*$# as they say in the place your mummy was born :))

Henry the Dog said...

Lady Fi - then mum must be strange, 'cause she won't pee in front of anyone. She even tells me to stop watching her if she has to go behind a bush or something. "I can't do it if you watch me..." Also, I know I'm not on my own with this French business. It gives mum a real headache too, sometimes.

Braja - I know. I really wasn't expecting that punchline, that's what made me laugh out loud too xxx

Lee - perhaps? I'd never thought of that. So, I could be right after all.

Blu - howling in French? Now that could be a first. Mum finds it hard even with subtitles and I'm simply lost all the time:(

J Cosmo - that's Uncle Hugh speak too. He often says 'bon day' or 'trés good';)

Belette (Henry laughing out loud), do you know something? When mum's french friends ask what I'm called she does honestly call me 'Onree'. C'est true;) Le Ruff Le Ruff xxxx

Braja - so there you go. I am honestly, truly known as 'Onree' amongst mum's french pals. Le Fred once said "Onree aymagnifiquenespah?" which means "Henry is magnificent, isn't he". YES I AM:) But no. I promise not to ever do Le Bark or Le Ruff in your presence and mum only calls me Onree to her French pals.

Frankie Furter said...

Henry I so understand this language thing you "spoke" of today. I keep telling people that English is not my first language. I spoke Dachshund first with a liberal sprinkling of German mixed in, of course. I just got into big trouble yesterday for this very issue. I had to make a big PAW LA GEE to a lot of people today in my blog.
The language difficultise and human pee rituals may be our downfall, Henry my friend.

French Fancy said...

This bloomin' language! Why can't there be one language the world over. My brain hurts sometimes after a couple of hours trying to talk and listen to French. It's very tiring.

Loved the clip.

Irish Gumbo said...

Sometimes I think my 'tete' is 'merde'...

I am going to have to get a spray guard for my laptop, this is the fourth? fifth? time I have done a spit-take on the screen.

Well done, Henry! Any essay that can include words such as 'adipose' and 'epiglottis' along with 'willies and boobies' is quite an achievement! Bravo!

As to the social etiquette of male urination, let me offer this small vignette: I used to work in an office of both architects and engineers, heavily populated with males, including myself. One day, as I was at the urinal, one of the structural engineers I was collaborating with took his place at the urinal adjacent to mine. A small nod of acknowledgement from us both, and then:

Engineer (LOUDLY):"Hey, I have a size on that big member for you!

Me(awkward pause): Um...okay? (hurriedly flushed and tried not to look like I'm running)

To this day, I prefer to meditate silently while voiding, its much better that way...

Diane said...

Henry, I took 2 years of French in school and one of the few words I remember is 'merde' (and I didn't learn that one from my teacher, I assure you!). I can't do my rrrrr's either and I am Scottish (though I'm from the Edinburgh side and not the Glasgow side, so maybe that's why). I have to say, I did chuckle at the picture in my head of you and Claude talking about man stuff... you are so cute! XO

Jennysmith said...

Good one, H, very funny clip and hillarious post. i think you're doing very well.

seriously, tho' , so many doors will open when you master the French language. thats what someone always told me anyway.

have a nice weekend xxxx

Stubby said...

Henry - I love to have a manly pee with my guys friends. Us doggies live for that kind of thing.

I only speak English and my old brain is not up for learning any other language. I give you a lot of credit for learning french and Claude sounds like a real hoot. If you are Onree, the I guess I am Stubbi!

Elizabeth said...

Tell your mum that the answer to flying is called Xanax and lots of it.
She can get it from her vet.
The answer to flying or a long time without a loo is not drinking ANYTHING for a long time.
Have fun at the kennels.

detroit dog said...

Henry, Have you seen the movie The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (based on a true story)? It is about the distress resulting from a misunderstanding about a horse theft. Cortez was asked if he had horse, and he responded that he'd just purchased a mare. But the translator didn't understand, so a shooting ensued. Gender differentiation was important, and the translator messed it up.

Maybe it is the same in French, but in Spanish there is an easy way of understanding it. In Spanish, male words end in "o" and female end in "a." The Spanish word for "problem" is a male word, "problemo." Because men are always the problem. :-)

And here I thought you could speak French by just adding that "zhee" sound to everything. go figure.

Ruby Isabella said...

Don't let any tell you your French is 'mal'. It is important to have fun and not worry to much about bisexual words and making hacking sounds like a 40 a day smoker. You must enjoy mangling their language. It's their fault for having silly sounds and words that fancy each other.

Temple said...

The video was are you!

Henry the Dog said...

Hi folks, thanks for all your comments. Something sad cropped up yesterday with Lady Jicky that I post about today. I was rushed off my doggy paws trying to get my post done, liaising with Lady Jicky, and trying to get ready for my hols at the kennels so I didn't do my usual 'rounds' and get around all your blogsites. So I'll catch up when I get back on Wedndesday.

In the meantime, very briefly am afraid:

Frankie - agree with you 100% mate.

FFancy - glad your brain hurts too, not just mine then:)

Irish - if I don't stop laughing I'll never get off on my hols. You must do a post about that one day. Will visit yours when I get back:)

Diane - it's always the swear words you learn first n'est-ce pas? Glad it's not just me who can't get my rrrrs into gear x

Jennysmith - I sincerely hope so:) I loved the clip too. V funny xx

Stubby or Stubbeee, yes a manly pee is a good thing. See you on Wednesday.

Elizabeth - xanax from the vet? Hey, it's not me who's scared of flying:) I'm sure I'll have a great time. See you soon.

Detroit - it's quite frightening what can go wrong eh? No, the men/lady words aren't always that easy to differentiate. But they wouldn't be would they? The French don't make anything simple:)

Ruby - well said. Agree with you 100%. Will see you when I get back from the

Temple - why thank you pretty lady:) (Henry blushes)

Right, I must go. I have to finish my post then am being rushed to the kennels. I hope to see you all VERY soon.