I’ll have a breu-nee, please.

One of the funniest things I do on an almost daily basis is pronounce English words with a French accent so that French people will understand me. This most often happens with food: I’m currently sitting in a café waiting for the Ee-reesh Crem (“Irish Cream,”  on the menu) Latté that I clumsily attempted to order with Gallic vowels, highlighting my foreignness AND managing to confuse the server at the same time. To be fair, I did try the regular pronunciation first– it’s just that the facial expression I received in return said I might as well have meowed my order. Other words that will not be understood if you pronounce them with an Anglophone accent in France include “brownie” (un breu-nee), and most celebrity names (for example, Quentin Tarantino’s name in France sounds like “Conton TahrAHtiNO”).

To be fair, Anglophones regularly butcher French words, too, my favorite being “chaise longue,” which is usually pronounced “shays lounge” in the States (it means “LONG CHAIR,” you guys– it’s not a type of “lounge” furniture invented by someone named Shay).

You simply haven’t lived until you’ve mispronounced your own name, on purpose, something that’s easy to do if you have a first name beginning with two letters that make a totally different sound in France and a last name with stress placement that is decidedly un-French. Hi, I’m Jzgheel Rousseau, but you can call me “sir.”

chaiselongue

Shay, on her lounge

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4 thoughts on “I’ll have a breu-nee, please.

  1. This post reminded me of a trip a while ago…I was taking a tour through a historic home in England and asked one of the employees if it was alright to take photos of the interior. The man (who was English) didn’t understand me (I’m American, native English speaker). After the third try, I finally just put on my best British accent and he finally understood what I was saying. :))

    Liked by 1 person

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