You see, my son was raised bilingual, in a part of Canada where English is the language mostly spoken. The only French he heard was mine, my parents’, friends’ and other French speakers’ in exile, who were usually from France. So his experience with swearing was essentially French (from France), with words of yore such as “zut!” (LISTEN), “crotte!” (LISTEN) and “merde!” (LISTEN).
When he was 8 years old, I moved to Eastern Canada with him. We also spent six weeks in Quebec during the summer. It was wonderful, but there was a lot of swearing going on, a lot of “tabarnak!” (LISTEN), “ostie!” (LISTEN) and “câlice!” (LISTEN). I wondered if my son understood, but each time I looked down at him he seemed to be going along unaffected. At that time, I also him signed him up for French immersion, as he needed to learn how to write the language he already spoke.
One day that September we were playing in a park. By then, he had had a fair share of contact with Quebec’s swear words. Suddenly, he pulled my sleeve, all excited:
– Look! Mom! Over there! Look!
– What? I asked. I saw nothing.
– There, on the other side of the street!
I looked but continued to see nothing.
– The truck!
There was this Canada Post truck:
He read outloud: “Livraison de câlices! Maman, ils les livrent ici!” (“Calices” delivery! Mom, they deliver them here!)
Whatever”câlices” were, now he knew they were being delivered!
Livraison /lee vreh zon/ (LISTEN) means delivery. It’s feminine: la livraison.
Livraison gratuite. (LISTEN)
La date de livraison prévue est le 6 octobre prochain. (LISTEN)
Expected delivery is on October 6.
Colis /kaw lee/ (LISTEN) means parcel. It’s masculine: le colis. You don’t pronounce the final “s”.
Un colis suspect. (LISTEN)
A suspicious package.
Veuillez indiquer le contenu de votre envoi sur le colis. (LISTEN)
Please write down on the parcel the content of your shipment.
Livraison à domicile /lee vreh zon ah dummie seal/ (LISTEN) means home delivery.
La livraison à domicile se fait les lundis et les mercredis entre 9 et 15 heures. (LISTEN)
Home delivery is on Mondays and Wednesdays between 9am and 3pm.
© Ouicestca 2014, tous droits réservés.