Thursday, October 09, 2008

Those Crazy Frogs #13: The Silent "H".

My friend J-Rock (aka Alena) sent me this article the other day which promptly made me laugh
my ass off. One of the many many perks of having an adorable Frenchmen as a husband is
getting to make fun of his accent.

If you're too lazy to follow the link, I'll give you a summary. Basically Bernard
, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs accidentally said Isreal could "eat"
Iran if it wanted to:

"I honestly don't believe that it will give any immunity to Iran ... because you will eat
them before..."

Of course anyone who knows the French accent is aware that he meant to say "hit" not
"eat". As the article explains, and every TEFL instructor in France knows, that in
French the letter "h" is silent and most French people just forget to pronounce it when
speaking English. And when they do actually pronounce it, it often sounds quite similar
to a cat hacking up a hair ball because they tend to over-correct.

(Somewhere in here there is a great joke about the French expression "I have a cat in my
throat", but yet again I'm not clever enough to make it.)

At any rate, the good news about this particular mispronunciation is that it leads to all
kinds of hysterically funny mistakes such as the one Mr. Kouchner made.

"What? What deed eee say? I deeed not ear eeem."

And in a completely un-related matter, my FrenchBoy pronounces the word "pillow" as "pee-low".

Just thought I'd share that.


Papadesdeux said...

Thanks for sharing.

God knows they make fun of us enough. A little turnabout is fair play.

Camille Acey said...

I was on the phone with someone and happened to click on your site and... that picture! Dear God! I just about had tears rolling down my face trying to keep myself from cracking up while this person was talking to me about something serious. Oh dear! TOO FUNNY!

Oh and while my Slovenian Boy also pronounces it pee-low, the Slavics OVER-pronounce the H such that they sound like The Count from Sesame Street.

Oneika said...

The French accent is just so darn cute! My French ex-boyfriend always used to make pronounciation and grammar mistakes... I used to get a good laugh out of it.

Madame K said...

Papadesdeux- And God knows I can give as good as I get!

Camille- LMAO@ The Count from sesame street. That's freakin' awesome.

Oneike-thanks for stopping by. I learned the word swag from your blog. Jeeez I feel old.

Leah said...

Peelow-love it! Got any other ones he says?

I have a French friend who tries to be funny and call me a whore. Too bad she pronounces it incorrectly without fail and calls me a war. I then get to laugh at her, suckaaaa!

Alison said...

Your blog showed up in the "recommended" bit of my Google reader. I wonder why I've never come across your blog before?

Anyway, salut, it's Alison. I used to be really good at blogging. And I lived in France for 13 years. My ex-husband did his DUT at the IUT de Metz, and I've been to that lovely city exactly once.