Bonding moments with the French

22 Feb

In the classroom

We are playing exquisite corpse, a group drawing game.

Sulky teenage student: What point does this serve for learning English?
Me: None. I thought you guys might want to not work for a change.
Student: (appreciating irony of statement, laughs uproariously)

We are writing and performing short dialogues between a waiter and a customer in an American pizza parlor.

Student (as waiter):  And would you desire a coffee after your pizza meal?

Student (as customer):  Yes.  Please make mine zucchini-less.

In and around Saint Jean

C:  We’re going to eat some cakes.  You like that?

P:  Paris—the most beautiful city in all the world, and maybe the most beautiful in all France.

C:  (in front of the perpetually broken copy machine in the staff room)  I just kick it hard when it’s not working.

On the train

Man sitting across from me:   My apartment in Bordeaux just burned down, but normally I fight bulls in the Basque country.

Woman with high-pitched, metronomic voice:  (at her mobile)  Hallo?…Hallo?…Hallo?…HaLLO?… (this just after realizing we were on the wrong train, headed far away from our intended destination)

SNCF woman*: Saintes. Ici, Saintes. (jingle cue:  dum Da duh DA dum)

SNCF woman: Arles.  Ici, Arles.

SNCF woman:  L’enfer.  Ici, votre enfer à vous.  Attention au débarquement.  (“Hell.  Here, your own personal hell.  Watch your step on descending.”)

*Her name is Simone Hérault.   She is interviewed, in French, on the SNCF site.  I was amazed to find that she is actually a real person who exists, and not a callous robot created to blithely announce that all departing trains are to be delayed for the next 5 years…merci pour votre comprehension.

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One Response to “Bonding moments with the French”

  1. julien March 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    Simone Hérault. Tout le monde l’a déjà entendue, et pourtant personne ne la connait.
    Dans le même genre, j’ai une vieille tante qui connaissait l’homme qui avait sculpté le dessin qui se trouvait au dos de toutes les pièces de monnaie françaises avant l’euro: http://www.infonumis.info/historique&description/3eme_Republique/semeuse.jpg
    Certainement un des artistes dont le travail a été le plus vu, et pourtant totalement inconnu !

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