Posted by: lyonenglishnetwork | March 2, 2010

Excuse my French, but she’s a f**ing bitch/slag/slut!

I was recently asked by one of my English students whether or not the English expression “Excuse my French, but…” is actually insulting towards the French.

I replied that I’d never really thought about it but that I didn’t think it was meant to aim any negative vibes at French people… or indeed the French language although on second thoughts it is rather insulting to the French language that it be associated with swear words.

The expression is used (as in the title of this post) to “apologise” in advance for using a swear word.

Apparently, the same expression exists in Italian and must go something like “excusi mi francese” (I don’t speak Italian so I don’t know how that’s spelt) but according to my student’s Italian informant on this, it’s actually quite complimentary towards the French in Italian.

What do you think ?

Posted by: Paul


Responses

  1. Watch your French, Paul, will you?!!!
    I think at first it was kind of insulting but any one using it now doesn’t even think about the word “French” here as the language itself, don’t you think?

  2. like I said, it’s not used to aim negative vibes at the French language…

  3. Isn’t it like the expression “Either something’s wrong in Denmark or…”?

    I don’t think “Pardon my French” is meant as an insult. I think it’s just a way of apologizing for using “bad words” by pretending it was said in a foreign language. I don’t think there’s any actual link to “French” itself but more of an attempt to cover up for something vulgar said in public.

    Does that make sense?

  4. So what are we supposed to answer about “French disease” or “French sick”…or even takig the French leave! It is amazing though to see how many words or expressions use the word French in them.

    One of my students recently pointed out how often we use dog in our expressions and he gave me quite a few examples. I didn’t really know what to answer to that!

  5. Well, I can’t think of any examples… Except once which I didn’t know once… a friend of mine told me “I need to see a man about a dog”… I have to admit that I was quite puzzled about the reason why this friend was in contact with a guy about a pet!!!!!! :o)

  6. yes, that’s a good one.

    I need to see a man about a dog.

    What could it possibly mean, if I was French and reading this blog I’d be wondering…

    Paul


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