Enfant terrible

It’s a humiliating fact that my four-year-old daughter speaks much, much better French than me. Not surprising really, as she’s lived here most her life and goes to a French nursery. But humiliating nonetheless, especially as she pulls no punches in commenting on my poor French, especially my pronunciation. Though things have improved a little – until quite recently whenever I attempted to speak French to one of her little friends she would wrinkle up her nose in distaste and say ‘No, Mummy, please don’t speak French’. Now she at least allows me to converse with her friends, but she mercilessly criticises my accent and I am ashamed to say I simply can’t get the words out the way she does, however much I try to copy her exactly. I have to face it – I am too old to ever be able to get the accent right. More worrying is that soon she will be doing complicated homework in French and I’m going to have to help her! Already she is using words that send me scrabbling for my dictionary – by the time she’s a teenager she’ll be using the French teenage slang* that no dictionary will be able to help me with. Time to seriously catch up!

*Subject of a future post – but more research needed!

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7 Responses to “Enfant terrible”

  1. Maybe you can clear something up for me, speaking of slang… I always thought ‘vachement’ meant something like ‘bloody’ when I was living in France, although I realised a direct translation would be ‘cowly’, but there we are. Then I noticed on the very cute romper suit you passed on to the Cutester a picture of a cow and the words, ‘Je suis vachement belle.’ Is this swearing for toddlers or is it a milder expression than I’d assumed? Never can tell with the French…

    • Ah, glad you asked me that. Because I haven’t a clue…so i went to look it up in my trusty dictionaire and apparently, although it can mean bloody, it can also be translated as ‘dead’ (as in very, not mort I presume – I would never have bought the romper suit if it was the latter, obviously).

  2. I’m, um, relieved – I think. I did wonder where it was going for a minute there. Bloody would have been preferable to dead I reckon, what with the chance for recovery and without the worry of decomposition etc.

    • Good, but I do still wonder where the ‘vache’ part comes from and how it seems to naturally imply bloody, dead things. I guess that’s the French love of casseroles for you…make mine a salad thanks!

  3. Hence if course the expression he was throughly ‘vached’-

  4. PS ro above

    Je suis vachement belle means ‘I am truly beautiful’ Go to http://www.french-linguistics.co.uk/translate/ and see for your selves

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