In the U.S., English is the native tongue spoken by approximately 82% of the population, and over 140 languages are taught in high schools across the nation in a vain attempt to make Americans bilingual.
Why is it then, I wonder, that it seems like everybody took either Spanish or French in high school?
I took French for three years and Latin my senior year (in which I earned my first "F", thankfully after I'd already been admitted to UNC-CH). With some scattered French in middle school and an additional year in college, I learned enough French to order food on a train and ask directions.
But most importantly, to me anyway, I learned enough to speak English with an exaggerated French accent for laughs and to pepper my snappy comebacks with just enough French snippets to sound arrogant at the proper time.
I've come across a couple of unfamiliar French words in articles over the past few days, which made me think of some of my favorite phrases from Madame Rothe's French class in high school that survived my teens and live on to this day:
"passez une bon weekend"= have a good weekend
"qu'est-ce que si passe?" = what's going on? what's happening"
"porquoi? PARCE-QUE!" = why? BECAUSE!
I can safely say this now, nearly 20 years later, without fear of getting Madame Rothe in trouble: she invited some of her favorite students over to her house and GAVE US ALL A GLASS OF WINE as we hung out and talked about France.
Can you IMAGINE such an egregious violation of teacher-student conduct? And at a CATHOLIC school no less!
Madame Rothe was a great teacher- one of the very few from my K-12 years that I ever think about anymore.
Anyway (before I bust out cryin') here are the two Frenchyisms I had to look up earlier this week:
maudit: Definition: (informal adj) - darned, blasted, hateful
Où sont ces maudites clés ? - Where are those darned keys?
Après ce cours, je ne veux plus voir ce maudit livre - After this class, I don't want to see this hateful book any more
(literary adj) - accursed
Related: maudire - to curse; un/e maudit/e - damned soul; le Maudit - the Devil
(thank you french.about.com)
The word was used in an Indiewire article about the DVD release of the much maligned Al Pacino gay serial killer thriller CRUISING, as follows:
"Paramount's imminent deluxe edition of William Friedkin's 1980 film maudit, CRUISING."
The second was folie à deux, which means "shared madness" or "craziness for two", a mental disorder which occurs simultaneously in two people with a close relationship or association.
This one I read in Newsweek's article about the back-to-back suicides of former "it"couple Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake.
3 days ago