Have you ever gone on a trip to a place that speaks another language and started to mimic how people speak even though you don’t speak the language? This is very common for many people that spend long lengths of time in regions that are not speaking their native language. I think this has become popular based on the movies and even if you are not trying to mimic someone it can come out in conversation. I often see this happening when people visit Quebec.
Often they are trying to sound like they’re French but in fact the word is still in English. The best example of this is the latest commercial on television from the furniture store Leons. When the homeowners are asked where they bought their furniture they are told, “From Leeyoonzz.” This sounds much more French than Leons. It is a very funny commercial and they even name the dog the same. Another past commercial from Quebec is when a couple from the United States is ordering cheese from a fancy restaurant and the waiter says the cheese is from “Toroonto” which sounds much fancier than Toronto.
This doesn’t just happen in French but in other Countries like the Caribbean. Everyone turns into Bob Marley like they’re from the islands the minute they get off the plane even though they have never been to the island before. To the person that only knows English it may sound like they are speaking another language, but they’re not. They are just moving sounds around to sound different. To the person that can speak that language it will just make them laugh, but not help them understand.
Even though it is fun for television it won’t help you be understood any better. The best way to fit in to another language is to learn a couple basic words such as “thank you” or “You’re welcome” and practice whenever you can. People from the region will appreciate your effort and may even help you improve your vocabulary. Down the road you may even become bilingual.
About the Author
Carmen Outridge is the owner of Outridge Translation Services and has been translating documents between English and French for over 30 years. Carmen is from the Eastern Townships part of Quebec and understands the language and dialect of Quebec. To learn more about Outridge Translation Services or to get help with your next project visit www.outridgetranslation.com