Being in a bi-cultural, bi-lingual relationship has its downsides - misunderstandings followed by exasperating  in-depth explanations are often de rigeur. After almost seven years of vie commune Copain and I **mostly** have it figured out.  But we still experience THE GREAT DIVIDE - topics that we will never agree on due to our very different upbringings and cultural values.

If you ever spend time with us you will probably hear us at some point or another fighting over tipping, standing in line (as opposed to cutting in line) and my love of snacking outside of the three square French meals (this is when I like to remind him that he recently finished an entire jar of Nutella all by himself - I found the empty jar, hidden, under the sink - busted!)

Despite our constant bickering over topics covered in THE GREAT DIVIDE, life with Copain has its wonderfully hilarious, can't be beat moments.  These are the Copain-isms that I have come to realize must be documented lest they be lost in the depths of my memory. Also, as his English and my French improve, I imagine that the isms will occur less and less which frankly is just upsetting. That's how much I love them.


Our friends recently had a new adorable baby boy named S.  On the way to visit for the very first time we were talking about where the baby must sleep since our friends already have a three-year-old and have only a two-bedroom apartment (les pauvres - on habite dans 29m2!!).

Doesn't the baby have a coffin?, Copain asked me.

A what?!

A coffin - you know, where the baby sleeps.

Ummm, I think you mean a crib - unless the baby has died and needs a cercueil (the French word for coffin). 

Realizing his mistake we both burst out laughing. But I didn't really get the faux amis (literally translated as fake friends aka: a French word that sounds very similar to an English word in pronunciation, but in fact, has a different meaning altogether) until I had relayed the story to my French friend E.  She kindly explained to me that in France, babies sleep in a couffin - a little baby basket - when they are first born.  

Ah ha! Je comprends! 

So no, Copain was not wishing death on newborn little S, he just had a faux amis moment, rien de grave.  Coffin / Couffin  -  Potato/ Potahto right?

1 comment:

  1. Oh la, I know what you're talking about! After 25 years in France, my man still says "un plat" instead of "une assiette", " proprement" instead of "correctement" and I have dozens of those in store, along with the "Frenglish" that he absolutely masters (French words, English syntax) Unfortunately, it drives me nuts...


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