Language Lessons

So there’s a French engineer on my team, and women members of the British forces living on my dorm hallway. This morning, as I’m putting in my contacts, one of the Brits chirps, “Are you feeling well?” and I give the predictable American response, something along the lines of, “Gee I thought so until you asked me.” She explains that’s a common British morning greeting of the innocuous type. I tell her that I often have breakfast with the French engineer, who asked, one morning when I was a bit early,” Did you fall out of bed?” and to my astonished, “Why no!” he explains that’s what the French say when you are up too early.

The Frenchman was having some trouble getting some of his contractors straightened out one day, and I said, “Like monkeys playing with the football.” He’d never heard that one before, and liked it very much. Some of the phrases are transliterations across languages, others are just unique.

And just to burst my bubble that the Canadians speak the same language we do, at a meeting yesterday when I described something as “right church, wrong pew” the Canadian in attendance turned t me and said in wonderment, “I’ve never heard that before!”


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