Poor tourists and the french language

The poor couple came into the centre of Nice.....they were so happy ..they were looking for a hotel...the sign said...

  • 25 chambres 50 euros

  • 46 chambres 65 euros

  • 70 chambres 80 euros

They were so happy....and with the words.." all we have to do is find this street called 'chambres'!!! ..they set out to find this wonderful street!!!

Making linguistic blunders is all part of life's rich pattern. My wife's twin sister worked for a while as a waitress in an Australian licensed restaurant whilst her English improved. One night she came home and said 'Normie what does 'peesorf' mean?' I immediately jumped up saying if anyone had said that to her I'd knock his block off (very macho and defensive I was in those days), but it transpired that guys were asking for drinks outside the licensing hours and she had asked an Australian female colleague what she should say - which was the inevitable. I had this wonderful image of these Aussie guys asking for drinks and getting a 'so sorry peesorf', in a delightful French accent, getting all confused and trying to work out if they'd been insulted or not! Great stuff!

The ad. business is of course replete with blunders of this type, especially with 'Ad-apts' (Advertising adaptations for use in foreign countries) One of the cleanest resulted in the name of Esso (as in Standard Oil) having to be changed in Japan as phonetically it meant 'car doesn't go'! Incidentally they chose the Exxon name, as only one language in the world uses a double XX (or so I am assured),and that is Maltese.

There are many more.

Bit like you. I once had a meeting in Lima where we were using Spanish, English, French and German. In the end I became so exhausted, I was speaking the wrong language to whover I spoke to almost automatically so that nobody knew what the hell I was talking about and I just faded. When I left with somebody who is actually of Welsh origin, normally resident in SE England, I began to to sing the Ying-Tong Song. Two of us walked the empty streets (during curfew, but we had exemption ID cards) continuing to to use the language of the Goons. There are times when such things are by far the best.

Mustn't mock, I lived in 12 countries and had a few words in most of the languages, but I think I invented a language of my own called 'foreign' (aka 'gobbledegook') but amazingly it seemed to work - or they were all just sympathising with the village idiot! Probably the latter.

Anyway my French wife has the permanent cringe when I join in French conversations, but now the gambit is 'he's deaf (true to 60%), English (lived longer in Australia but still) and the final cruncher, 'une parasseuse idiot'. Right on all counts!

The French love it by the way, and I can get away with murdering their beautiful language. Shame really.

Hmm, lots of judgements going on here, why is there an assumption that this couple are from essex??

What is wrong with people from Essex? and because we speak a second language, who are we to judge those

who don't.

ah that could have been my friends, he speaks a little French, has a place on the Cote D'Azur, but has spent the last year working in Madrid, the brain now flips into Spanish instead of English. Similar to us on holiday in Barcelona last year, I kept speaking in French rather than Spanish..your brain recognises that it's not English and searches for the next closest language you know...but this can be displaced if you spend a lot of time in another country or perhaps it was Del boy?


A young British woman was locked in the town hall of a small French town overnight after mistaking the "hôtel de ville" for a "hotel".

The tourist, in her early 30s, posted a rescue message on the inside of the glass door of the hotel de ville (town hall) but no one spotted it until the next morning. The woman, who has not been named, spent the night in the building's entrance hall. The mayor of Dannemarie in lower Alsace, Paul Rumbach, said the woman had assumed the hotel de ville was a hotel. She entered on Friday night and used the toilet before asking if there was a room. Meanwhile, committee members left the building and locked the front door.

"They thought they heard a noise in the toilets but didn't think much of it," the mayor said. The British tourist tried switching the town hall lights on and off to attract a rescue but no one in the town of 2,500 people noticed. She glued a message, in not quite grammatical French, on the window of the outer door: "22.08.2009. Je suis fermer ici. Est ce possible la porte en ouvrir?" (I am locked here. Is it possible the door to open?")

The young woman was liberated by the mayor at 9am on Saturday after a local chemist noticed the message. M. Rumbach said he might place English and German translations of the sign "Hôtel de Ville" on the front of the town hall (or Rathaus).

I was having a coffee in Bergerac where there was a couple, the 'husband' being of the loud, even 'Essex boy' variety. Instead of s'il vous plait, merci or other useful expressions he repeatedly said 'gracias'. So he had learned something, somewhere, sometime and maybe that was even Benidorm for all we know. My French friends, a couple who know a bit of English, were creased up each time he boomed out 'gracias'. Then when the waitress finally bothered to deal with them, the man asked for the menu in English with a 'Manuel' (Fawlty Towers variety) Spanish accent. I honestly did not know such people really existed until that day, so the above comes across very plausible.

The question girls....Is who serious...ME or Stephen Capper?

Are you serious?

Did this poor couple come from Essex and normaly enjoy holidays in Benedom?