On pronunciation and the proper way to eat a brownie.

kid brownie

{I don’t know this kid, but I know she knows how to eat a brownie.}

Any of my fellow compatriots who (still) think the French don’t really like us should come to France and see for themselves. The French love America! They listen to our music, they eat under golden arches (admit it, Frenchies, you adore “MacDo”), they speak our language.

Maybe I should rephrase that. Sure, every French person speaks English nowadays, but they also adopt our words when speaking their own language.

I particularly like the food vocabulary that has become increasingly trendy lately. I first noticed it when my friend Hélène opened up her cookie shop in Dijon and I started hearing sentences like, “I’d like one chocolate chip cookies, please.” Apparently, all cookies are plural here. Hélène also sells oh-so-American muffins, which sounds something like “meuhfeens.” A new “American restaurant” just popped up in town. They feature “bayGUHLS” and propose “Looky Charm” cereal for dessert (quelle horreur!).

I’m getting reasonably good at understanding French, but when they use our words and pronounce them their way, it always throws me for a loop.

sweet teeth

A couple days ago, a group of us was at the boulangerie grabbing some “sondweech” for a quick lunch. Victor ordered a “brohnie” for dessert and then asked me if I liked them. I had no idea what he was talking about.

“You know, a brohnie,” he said. “It’s American.”

“Oh! A brownie,” I said.

“Oh, A BROWNie,” Estelle teased, with spot-on American pronunciation. “You always say, ‘oh!’ whenever you recognize an American word.”

“Yea, because when I am listening to French all day, I guess my mind is constantly trying to translate, and then when it hears an American word — pronounced differently — it gets confused.”

We paid for our lunches and made our way back to school for a “pique-nique.”  When we had finished our “sondweech” and were moving on to dessert, Victor pulled out a spoon. I couldn’t help but giggle.

“You’re going to eat your brownie with a spoon?” I asked.

“Is that not the way I’m supposed to eat it?” Victor replied.

“Eat it however you want, but may I take a picture?”

Brownie{Clearly not the American way to eat a brownie)

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7 Comments

Filed under Culture, Food, Just for laughs, Language

7 responses to “On pronunciation and the proper way to eat a brownie.

  1. Poor Victor. He has unwittingly become the French poster child for how NOT to eat brohnies.

    By the way, the spelling of “brohnie” made me think of “bronies,” which are men who proudly (yes, proudly) like to watch “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.”

    No, I am so not making this up. :P

  2. This is awesome. Wonderful insight on the nuance of things, Emily, as always. I’m laughing out loud in my office. And I’ll just say, I agree with à cent pour cent. One of my colleagues has the kind of accent when he speaks English that has taken on absolutely zero American, so – especially when he says an English word while speaking French – I never have ANY idea what he’s talking about.

    I’ve also noticed that the Frenchies that have been around Americans too long have started literally translating certain phrases: “ca a du sens”, for example. According to my sources, in “real” French: “c’est logique”.

  3. Reyna

    Ah the concept of ‘finger food’ is lost on the French.. What? Food shaped like fingers? No silly! Food you eat with your fingers.. Berk!

  4. L

    Very cute :) This makes me miss my French friends even more.

  5. maryanita

    This makes me miss my French daughter even more! LOVE you.

  6. This is hilarious and so true!

    When I first moved to France and was feeling a little homesick,I went to MacDo and ordered a hamburger in an American accent. The cashier didn’t understand me until I Frenchified the word: “ahm-boor-geh..r.” So the misunderstanding goes both ways!

    There is a trend with American food shops here in Lyon: cupcakes and bagels are the new cool. And cocktail bars. I’m not complaining at all! Whenever I am feeling nostalgic for my home country, I can always stop into one of these places!

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