Qu’est-ce que tu baragouines là?

Qu’est-ce que tu baragouines là?

kess-kuh tew baa-raa-GWEEN lah? Click below to hear this.

What’re you jabbering about, there?

Not very polite, this! Le baragouin (luh baa-raa-GWAA) is gibberish, so you can imagine that the question wouldn’t go over very well. You’re really asking a person what sort of outlandish language they are speaking.

We once heard an American tourist in Paris trying to buy a 2F admission ticket to a museum with a 500F bill. (Back in the days before euros!) The hapless French-speaking cashier didn’t have change for such a big bill, and tried repeatedly to convey that to the tourist. It took an intervention from my husband to convey the message to the tourist, who dug into her purse for a smaller bill and stalked away muttering, “Jabber, jabber, jabber. Why can’t they talk like us?”

Please promise me you won’t ever be that tourist! No matter how well or how badly we speak the language of the country we are visiting, we should never assume that they should speak like us.

Save Qu’est-ce que tu baragouines là? for the guy who is trying to talk with his mouth full, or the tot who can’t talk yet. The first deserves it, and the second won’t understand anything except the affection in your voice, so you’ll be even.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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