Monday, July 07, 2008

The root of all obesity

This morning I'd like to break a seal of sorts and take a moment to mock my French boyfriend. He doesn't read the blog so this will be our little secret.

An entire series could spring from the unintentional smut that sometimes falls from his mouth - the happy accidents that arise from the difficulty of certain sounds.

The majority are related to the aspirated 'h' that many French add, unnecessarily, to English words that begin with 'a'.

To illustrate: Once, as we were stolling along the Bassin de la Villette, he offered to "rent us a rowboat, along with some hoars."

This happens all the time.

And it brings me so much amusement that I have adopted, in some cases, his particular pronunciations. I will ask him with a straight face to take me in his harms, or if my hass looks okay in certain pants.

But my all-time-favorite has nothing to do with the aspirated 'h'. It revolves instead around a preferred spread, and its French designation as Evil. Dorie Greenspan addressed this recently on her blog when she noted that,

"French children never get peanut-butter because their parents are convinced it's the root of all obesity."
The boyfriend looks bemused whenever I bring out my overpriced jar of peanut butter. He watches me uncomfortably as I spread the stuff on bread, as if I were wiping boogers on the sofa.

And then he asks me every time, inverting the word order and fatally omitting the last 't',
"Do you really like this butter peanus?"
I have never corrected him, and have in fact doubled my consumption just to hear him mispronounce it. I suppose this means, in a roundabout way, that the French parents are right.

17 comments:

Miki said...

OMG- busted out laughing when I read this. This is exactly the reason I insist on reproducing with someone who speaks English as a second language. This only works as long as the person's english is good enough that this is funny, otherwise it's just mean to laugh at them. but, as the child raised in the states by one american and one japanese parent, i cannot count the number of times mispronunciation or mixed up idioms have provided serious laugh out loud moments for us kids (and dad too sometimes). i crack me up with i mix up the pronunciation too thanks to being around my asian dad. hahahaha!

Gina Verster aka ZY-XIN said...

reminds me of the time my french partner turned to some american clients of ours during small talk and commented, "the most important thing in life is to find 'a-pee-ness"...needless to say, the americans are again bewildered by the bold sexuality of the french!!

Ms. Glaze said...

I told you not to make me laugh with my cracked rib and all. This post is hilarious. Butter peanus. I think I'm going to go eat a whole jar of it just hout hof spite.

My other favorite mispronounced word is: beach. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Ever wondered how YOUR attempt to French comes across to HIM? Very cute, probably, with the inevitable misspellings and mispronunciations he won't want or dare share with you because they are too cute. it goes both ways, baby! (This from a frog married to an amerloque, who systematically cracks at her franglais -- and whose attempts at the French language she finds the cutest in the world.)

Bliss said...

Ha HA HA HA. The girl in the partition next to me is still looking at me funny, wondering if i'm ok as i was laughing/crying so hard i had to leave the office.

I'm eating crunchy PB on toast and loving it!

Adrian said...

boyfriend?

Le Meg said...

Sorry Adrian, I know you were hoping it would be a girlfriend.

bijou said...

speaking of...

http://frenchamericain.blogspot.com/2008/06/decadent-dictator.html

w said...

Priceless! Thanks for the giggle.

Season Five Style said...

This is very funny. As my french improves I have realized all the mistakes I made when speaking the language. That explains the funny looks! This also reminds me of my Russian Brother-in-law who makes hilarious mistakes. He told me recently my brother was going often to the bitch house. I responded - you mean prostitutes? Ah no, he meant the BEACH house. My teasing is all in good fun tho - the man speaks 5 languages so he has my respect!

Fabulously Broke said...

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can totally, totally relate to this post ;)

Jenny said...

I loved this!

I've heard that Italians have the same opinion of peanut butter as the French do. Giving children Nutella sandwiches for lunch isn't out of the ordinary, but peanut butter is just plain unhealthy!

As for me, an acceptable breakfast-in-a-pinch has always been a spoonful of peanut butter. Though I'm sure I've done the same with Nutella as well...

amelie said...

I have to take a moment to just say LOL. That pretty much sums it up.

ChezLait said...

I cannot wait to trick my French bf into saying Peanut Butter. So far I've only been amuzed by heez liberal use of zee letter z.

Boz said...

You have just made me think long and very hard about the French boyfriend I had for a month many, many moons ago.

Le sigh.

Bibil said...

I made the 'peanus' mistake once, but I was 15 in front of 15-year-old girls... Well, it was a funny moment. For them.
I wish I could eat peanut-butter, but... I feel too guilty when I do it. See, my parents believe that it's the root to obesity.
(Croissants are not, curiously).

Anonymous said...

ahaaaaaaa. my french boy famously says "peanuh butts" (somehow he has missed the "er" in butter), and, fortunately, his health food loving organic farmer parents always gave it to him as a kid. However, he loves skippy extra chunky, so when he came to the states with me this summer, he brought back 6 extra large tubs (not to mention our cache of mac+ cheese, campbell's chicken noodle and jello mix)... my mother, however, really liked when he asked her to take us to the store to get the peanuh butts - because peanut was our kid name for penis. OH, the french my dear... isn't is lovely?