Thursday, February 19

I'm not as cool as I pretend to be

I butchered a French man's name today. And I mean wholesale slaughtered it.

It wasn't even a strange, unfamiliar name with bizarre French spelling that would have left me totally clueless. It wasn't Jacquot or Apollinaire or Émilien or Amaury or Théophile. THOSE I would have looked up online before even attempting. No, it was Jean-François. Which seems easy enough.

Now, I don't speak French. But I'm not totally ignorant. And I like saying things right, and usually I manage decently enough.

So before I called the guy, I prepped myself. "Jean" like on Les Mis, Jean ValJean. Zhoh(n). Got it. "François," like Froh(n)swa. Piece of cake. It sounded great. Not native, sure, but legit. Educated. Cultured. I felt ready.

Then when the guy picked up, I totally croaked. Totally. Croaked.

"Hello, could I speak with, uh, Zheen, uh, Zhoh... ::mumble, mumble:: Frons..frans...fronswah?"

The reply came kindly in perfect English tinted so attractively with French accent: "This is he." He didn't make a point to say, "Yes, this is Jean-François (you pathetic American)," he just moved on like it was no big deal that I just shredded his name. I would not have been so generous.

He's probably totally used to it, but I not only decimated his name but then I tripped over the pieces! I hang my head in shame.

5 comments:

Amy said...

Couldda been worse, it's could've been John Smith...... :)I think people who are forgiving like that are tender mercies just for me...

Mariley Johnson said...

If it's any consolation, i'm sure you were not the first to butcher his name.

Ann-Marie said...

I think I should spell MY name Amaury. Hmmmm..........

Angela said...

You? Pronounce something wrong? I'm shocked. Mouth hanging down, shocked. :D

Pinto said...

you name-messer-upper spume.

I laugh in your general direction. (in a French way no less)