petite anglaise

December 7, 2006


Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:03 am

On Tuesday, Mr Frog drove me to Ikea so I could kit out my new office space. As always, when we are together, it doesn’t take long for us to remember why we split up in the first place. In this instance my near hysteria when I called him at 8am to wail that RenaultRent didn’t actually have the vehicle I reserved on the internet (and hadn’t bother to phone and advise me of the fact) reminded him of all the times I’d gone off the deep end in the past over trivial matters.

“Look. I’ve just woken up and I don’t need to hear this right now,” said Mr Frog groggily. “Call me when you’ve found another van.”

Once upon a time, that exchange would have deteriorated into some sort of fight, but not any more. Now he’s just a friend who has kindly offered to do me a favour, and must be treated accordingly. When one of us gets annoyed, all we have to do is walk away. A much healthier state of affairs for all concerned.

Later that day, tearing along the A1 motorway towards Paris Nord II, the atmposphere is relaxed, radio Nova is playing, and we are swapping Tadpole stories.

“Has she done that song for you, the one with the actions about Monsieur Grenouille?” I take special care over the word “grenouille” which is the single most difficult word for an anglophone to pronounce in the French language, in my opinion.

“Yes, the Mr Frog song. Very appropriate, I thought,” my own Mr Frog says with a smile. “Oh, that reminds me, I have something to tell you that you might want to use in your blog…”


“Well, I didn’t tell you this before, but I’ve been on meetic. I took out a four month trial subscription to see what it was like a while back, no photo or anything, I wasn’t going to mention it to you… But then yesterday I got an email from them with twenty profiles of women that might interest me. And yours was the first one in the list! How weird is that?”

“Wow. I don’t know whether that is proof of how well it works, or the opposite. Did you look at my profile? Or send me a tease? I haven’t logged in for ages, so I wouldn’t know…”

“No, I didn’t open it up, it didn’t feel right.”

The conversation moves onto other things. The girl he is going to visit. Tadpole’s bowel movements. Christmas presents. The day is a success, all in all: everything I need is in stock, we have a pleasant lunch in the Ikea cafeteria together and get back to Belleville in plenty of time to unload before school pick up time.

That night, nursing a lemsip and watching junk TV on my laptop in bed, the meetic story pops back into my mind. I’d pretty much given up on online dating. But, I reason, if there are people even half as cool as Mr Frog out there, it might just be worth swinging by for one last look.


  1. Nice punch line ;-)

    Comment by Jim — December 7, 2006 @ 11:17 am

  2. Hey, am I the first one to find out about this “billet” ?
    I feel special …
    Petite, once again, funny story !
    And so, is it “proof of how well it works or the opposite” ?

    Comment by Sam — December 7, 2006 @ 11:22 am

  3. How funny! Do we think it is just one of these odd coincidences or more than that? How is it that they choose who you might be interested in? Similar interests? ages? taste in curtains? Perhaps it links up people who are single and have a Tadpole?

    I have to say, I’m not exactly filled with confidence in these dating sites after that. Mind you, I guess the things that really decide whether you can make a relationship with someone work are the things you don’t put down on the website.

    Comment by Ignorminious — December 7, 2006 @ 11:29 am

  4. it might just be worth swinging by for one last look

    Be careful – that’s those Ikea meatballs talkin’ ;-)

    Comment by Iain — December 7, 2006 @ 11:41 am

  5. Must be the first time that when someone says to a blogger “Hey I’ve got something for your blog..” that they are correct.

    Comment by SimonInBrussels — December 7, 2006 @ 11:50 am

  6. Yes, “grenouille” is hard – I was saying it all wrong before I actually went to France and heard how they said it.

    “surtout” is hard for Brits to say without giving themselves away too.

    Comment by anxious — December 7, 2006 @ 11:52 am

  7. Surely “Jim” (comment 1) can’t be Jim in Rennes? Otherwise there are just too many layers of irony going on here… ; )

    Comment by old school friend — December 7, 2006 @ 11:58 am

  8. You so hit the nail on the head with the “grenouille.” Our friends tried to train me to say it properly, but even these days I have to think really hard to get it out right.

    Although I think that there is one word I hate even more… “porte-feuille”. When you go into multiple leather stores yet none of the salespeople can understand what you’re looking for on the first try, there is a serious problem somewhere.

    Comment by kim — December 7, 2006 @ 12:05 pm

  9. How true that it’s often easier to get on with people after you have split up than when you were together.
    And as for ‘grenouille’ I’ve heard different pronounciations from different French people so I don’t even know which one to aim for. But then, I only have to say ‘Bonjour’ and they know I’m English so I don’t stand a chance of getting it right anyway.
    Wish you luck if you try meetic again!

    Comment by Sablonneuse — December 7, 2006 @ 12:27 pm

  10. If you like Pina Colada!

    tee hee hee



    ps is grenouille really so differentiating? for me it was always gasoil.

    Comment by Drew Mishmash — December 7, 2006 @ 12:29 pm

  11. love your blog, have been enjoying for ages but never posted. have to say though, the most difficult word is surely not grenouille but bouilloire. my hopeless efforts to pronounce it were a source of much hilarity among my french colleagues when i lived in paris.

    Comment by beck — December 7, 2006 @ 12:32 pm

  12. This one really makes me wonder whether men and women should try to live together at all :-)

    Comment by alcessa — December 7, 2006 @ 12:37 pm

  13. I disagree. The single most difficult word for an Anglophone to pronounce in the French language is ‘écureuil’.

    Comment by Ruth — December 7, 2006 @ 12:38 pm

  14. I think ‘grenouille’ comes a close second to ‘bouilloire’ in terms of pronunciation disasters. I spent all my time in Paris boiling water in a saucepan to avoid having to ask for such a thing in a shop.

    Comment by SXC — December 7, 2006 @ 12:38 pm

  15. My best friend is marrying her meetic man in February!!

    I used to hate the idea of “shopping” for a partner, but, hey, whatever lights your candle!

    I do believe though, that when “shopping”, you shouldn’t necessarily pass by the ones that don’t “match” your profile, due to their star sign or height or other random criteria – after all, that’s not how it works in “real” life…

    Comment by Amanda — December 7, 2006 @ 12:40 pm

  16. hmm, you might be right about bouilloire. I’m not sure I can even spell it, let alone say it.

    Comment by petite — December 7, 2006 @ 12:47 pm

  17. well ma chérie, I don’t know if we should be an inspiration or a warning to you… but my meetic story appears to be back on for round 3.

    Comment by maitresse — December 7, 2006 @ 12:56 pm

  18. Glad you are…glad you write…glad you share with us…

    Comment by Momo — December 7, 2006 @ 1:06 pm

  19. I always struggled with “veuille”…
    Check out In Actual Fact’s blog- post dated 30th November called “Personal Ads”…the same thing happened to him!

    Comment by Hannah Banana — December 7, 2006 @ 1:37 pm

  20. Interesting that you were his first “find” on Meetic, and your last line…………. and a lovely day………

    Maybe I’m just a romantic, but it sounds to me that maybe there is still a little flame buring there…..?


    Comment by Sally Lomax — December 7, 2006 @ 1:41 pm

  21. More about pronunciation: an English girl I once met in Paris had a personal crisis whenever people asked where she worked. ‘Je travaille a Neuilly’ kept sounding like ‘Je travaille la nuit’, thus raising many an eyebrow.

    Comment by SXC — December 7, 2006 @ 1:45 pm

  22. “This one really makes me wonder whether men and women should try to live together at all :-)”

    When you look at the divorce rate here in the U.S., this rings all too true…..

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — December 7, 2006 @ 2:03 pm

  23. I think the fact you guys are congenial and can make a go at being friends speaks so loudly about how much you both love and want the best for tadpole…it will give Tadpole soo much to see you both as friends and never enemies!!

    Comment by aminah — December 7, 2006 @ 2:17 pm

  24. I dabbled at Meetic but all the men wanted to speak French and my French really isn’t good enough for dating conversation. Is there some trick to locating English-speakers at in the Paris area? If so I must’ve missed that one.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — December 7, 2006 @ 2:25 pm

  25. Reminds me of the first time I asked parisien cop for directions for “Reims” in Champagne. It’s a rare exception. Looks like “reeeems”. But it’s pronounced like an American would pronounce France without the F, and I love hearing true French get that “ran” sound out.

    And yet again in Provence last year, when a waiter told me that he was “very happy”. Several times. It wasn’t til I looked at the bill and saw he was asking for 13 Euros, (“treize Euros” which he’d mangled into “tres heureux”) he thought it was funny as hell … had to be there.


    Comment by Chez.Robsif — December 7, 2006 @ 2:28 pm

  26. So how do you pronounce “grenouille” then? Because I have gren-oh-ill in my head but that would just be too easy, hey.

    Comment by Annie Rhiannon — December 7, 2006 @ 2:30 pm

  27. I have difficulty correctly pronouncing fourrure

    Comment by cheria — December 7, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

  28. The winner for the same word most difficult in either language (to say and to spell) for the non-native speaker:
    écureuil – way too many fussy French vowel sounds plus ‘r’ for anglophones (comme moi)
    squirrel – have heard numerous versions from native French friends, but certainly nothing like the dialect of my fellow Texans.
    Mr Frog is certainly easier for me to spit out than Monsieur Grenouille. I too get nailed as an American after only a few teeny weeny French words.

    Comment by sauterelle — December 7, 2006 @ 3:08 pm

  29. As a teacher I sometimes have to get kids to use careers guidance software. The end result letting them have some ideas of jobs they might be interested in and compatibility ratings.
    They are impressed when my results indicate that I have a high rating for ‘being a teacher’. They see this as an indication that the software is pretty good.
    I just see the tunnel getting longer.
    Why can’t I be a trans continental lorry driver.

    Comment by meredic — December 7, 2006 @ 3:20 pm

  30. For a frog like me, the most difficult one to pronoune in English: miscellaneous.

    Comment by Zorglub — December 7, 2006 @ 3:52 pm

  31. This is not a dig at you!
    Even after all these years in France I still have to be careful with my pronunciation of that word…grenouille. Sometimes I get it almost right, mostly not. As a party trick my valiant attempts generally bring the house down.
    I try to avoid it altogether.
    Ever tried ordering ‘cuisses de grenouille’?

    Comment by Parkin Pig — December 7, 2006 @ 4:07 pm

  32. hmm, I’m with you on “fourrure” as well.

    Comment by petite — December 7, 2006 @ 4:14 pm

  33. I used to tease my Mam by making her say “Blois”. And try to say “Auchan”. Meh. Horrible child that I was… But still very funny to get my resolutely Anglophone Mam to hold her nose to try and get the “Au” bit right!

    The French (and Swiss) get their knickers in a twist as soon as they realise that I’m not actually French/Swiss (got thrown into French school at 7, did rest of schooling in French schools- truly bilingual now). It’s at that point that they tell me that I have a cute little “English” accent. Not that they’ve noticed it until then, and usually were under the impression that I’m a true-blue Genevoise. It’s as though they can’t accept that I speak as good (if not better, as I teach it as well) as they do!

    Accent, my rear end.

    Bande de chauvins!

    Comment by little_bounce — December 7, 2006 @ 4:36 pm

  34. The person who is cool is you. I would have flipped if an ex received an email about me from a “rencontres” service.

    Comment by Lost in France — December 7, 2006 @ 4:42 pm

  35. speaking of ecureuils (well someone was, a while back) you should try getting a french person to say squirrel. hilarious.

    Comment by James — December 7, 2006 @ 5:15 pm

  36. How about the word “fourrure” ? Or my friend Aurore’s name which usually ends up as “Owo”… My English/American name being “Low”. But I used to think “fourrure” was the hardest. I wish I could hear while you try it out loud.

    Comment by Laure — December 7, 2006 @ 5:35 pm

  37. Oh my. I just realized that Petite had already mentioned the infamous “fourrure”. Sorry if I sound like I haven’t read anything before posting :).

    Comment by Laure — December 7, 2006 @ 5:39 pm

  38. Total agreement on “fourrure” – the close proximity of the “ou” and “u” still has the power to unnerve me, even after all these years in France.

    Comment by Iain — December 7, 2006 @ 6:21 pm

  39. Bonjour,
    this is why we created the totally free site:
    Because dating sites SUCK! It is proposterous to think that a database record can be magically read to math anyone!

    At verbdate you can speak to people anonymously using Skype! It doesn’t take long to filter the frauds and you can learn a great deal from someone’s actual voice! Culture, education, character, experiences, temperment, etc

    Anyhoo, love you blog and would be thrilled to see some of your intelligent readers on verbdate and I think that they would agree! Besides, it never hurts to have someone with a French accent to speak too ;)
    Au revoir, talk on all, talk on!

    Comment by BobbyD — December 7, 2006 @ 7:15 pm

  40. PA, fancy recording yourself saying ten times “la grenouille n’a pas de fourrure” ten times just to illustrate?

    Comment by Mardo — December 7, 2006 @ 7:24 pm

  41. If you like Pina Colada was the first thing I thought of too. That was really quite sweet and very nice of him to offer the tidbit to you, for the blog. Nice Mr. Frog. Nice post, Petite.

    Comment by Sophmom — December 7, 2006 @ 7:33 pm

  42. “radio Nova” another cool Frenchie told me about it mostly for Frenchies? is sneered upon but I love it :P

    Comment by ParisBreakfasts — December 7, 2006 @ 7:42 pm

  43. Simple though it may be, I simply cannot say “yaourt.” Grenouille I feel fairly comfortable with, and there are probably many that are harder for other anglophones, but yaourt is somehow beyond me.

    Of course, I’m taking Hindi now, which has four D sounds and four T sounds, each of which sounded more or less indestinguishable to me at the begining, and are only vaguely begining to take shape now.

    Comment by Kerry — December 7, 2006 @ 7:53 pm

  44. It’s nice to see that you and Mr. Frog can help each other out and still be friends. Often, things get so ugly that former couples won’t even talk to each other.

    It’s refreshing and lovely to see. Plus, a great thing for Tadpole and yourselves.

    Comment by Diane — December 7, 2006 @ 8:11 pm

  45. never mind about all that dating nonsense. did you have meatballs and a dime bar at ikea? and did you buy something called ‘gorm’ – or were you, like me, gormless? (can’t even remember what gorm was now – but i totally wanted one!)

    Comment by mad muthas — December 7, 2006 @ 8:22 pm

  46. The hardest for me are the stations Reuil Malmaison and reuilly diderot. How on earth are you supposed to pronounce the reuil bit??

    Comment by sammi — December 7, 2006 @ 8:37 pm

  47. A French friend of mine, who has lived in the UK for 15 years, refuses point blank to say Mediterranean (hope my spelling is OK) as it will make them sound French.

    Comment by H — December 7, 2006 @ 9:00 pm

  48. Anybody else noticing that the difficult words for anglophones all include ‘uill’? (ok, not all – more like 90% of them).

    Perhaps it’s time someone came up with a decent phonetic way of rendering this – would make my life easier for a start!

    Comment by Une Fille — December 7, 2006 @ 9:29 pm

  49. That happened to me once. I tried out Match, and it turns out that one of my exes (who broke my heart the year before) had been on it and she called me to say that they emailed her matches and I was the first one. “isn’t that funny!” Well…it’s probably funny for the dumper. For the other one? Not so much.

    Comment by homeimprovementninja — December 7, 2006 @ 9:41 pm

  50. My friend from Belgium once inquired after my “short-name” and was disappointed when I told him he couldn’t call me “Eel.”

    Comment by Hilary — December 7, 2006 @ 11:56 pm

  51. It’s nice that you and the ex are nice to each other more often than not.

    After living in France while pretty young, I came out on the accent part fairly well. But ‘yaourt’ trips me up every single time. That must be why I always ask for the little pot of mousse and pass right by the yaourt nature after dinner!

    Comment by Christy — December 8, 2006 @ 1:22 am

  52. Had an interesting conversation this eve with an ex/friend about her meetic stuff. She spent a bunch of time chasing “the one” there, and the funny part is “when you meet something in real life first, you notice a lot of details. Some are good, some aren’t, but you forget it, or forgive it when you happen to know the person. On meetic, that’s different, you first meet what people want to tell you and when it come to actual meeting, you just notice, afterward, these details. Strange situation to deal with as you feel like knowing a bit of person, and realising what he looks like for real”.
    Was puzzled…

    Comment by Mardo — December 8, 2006 @ 3:36 am

  53. Best value by far is the restaurant. Half the South West gathers daily at the Montpellier IKEA for lunch it seems. After two starters including their delicious gravad lax and a 50 cent glass of wine I’m ready for the 2-hour blast back to the Pyrenees-Orientale with a new wardrobe and some chairs.
    Btw what did you get?

    Comment by andrew — December 8, 2006 @ 3:53 am

  54. After your first Meetic post, which lead me to try out online dating for a bit, I’ve sworn off online dating. In fact, no one has been allowed to speak of it as of my last online debacle…

    Imagine my horror when I read today’s post. Sigh.

    Comment by Mlle Smith — December 8, 2006 @ 4:14 am

  55. You are certainly right about grenouille. I was in a French class in Aix-en-Provence and we actually spent 20 minutes learning to pronounce it one syllable at a time. It seems easy now (IF I am still pronouncing it right) but maybe I’m not. I wouldn’t want to even try the other other words mentioned.

    Comment by Ken — December 8, 2006 @ 7:42 am

  56. How about “mercredi” or “kangourou”…eek!

    Comment by Cranberry Fizz — December 8, 2006 @ 9:30 am

  57. What did I get in Ikea? Where do I begin…. A new shelf cabinet for Tadpole’s toy collection, a small folding dining table and chairs, a sofa bed and desk and various bits and bobs for the studio…

    It is now all assembled, and I have only a few odd cuts/grazes on my wrist – which look a little like a failed suicide attempt – to show for my trouble.

    Comment by petite — December 8, 2006 @ 10:00 am

  58. For me it is pneus. It causes me pain for two reasons. The first is I find it hard to pronounce and secondly becuase I only use the word when it is going to cost me money.

    Comment by Billyboy — December 8, 2006 @ 10:05 am

  59. My French is so elementary that the double ss in words throw me. I always have to stop and think before using a word with s or double ss such as poison and poisson–really big difference. I do the same thing with chavaux and cheveux-don’t want to ask to get my horses cut.

    Comment by Linda — December 8, 2006 @ 10:27 am

  60. Interesting post…you could have called it ‘Paris Match’! On the list of hard words:
    For the French: Smith’s crisps, development (with the right stress)
    For the English: RER, Leroy Merlin…
    Am enjoying your blog Petite, thanks for sharing

    Comment by bangaloreblonde — December 8, 2006 @ 11:36 am

  61. My surname is Haigh (hard g) but nobody gets it right. In the UK I’m Mrs Hay, native German speakers call me Frau Hike and here in France I’ve morphed into Mme Egg.
    What about favourite French words? Mine include the wonderful and totally useless “hippopotamesque” and the sadly very much needed “pneu”.

    Comment by Ros — December 8, 2006 @ 12:00 pm

  62. Une fille has a point. It must be the u that causes problems – both for Anglophones speaking French and francophones speaking English (my French friends trying to pronounce ‘pub’ or ‘bus’ has always amused me). Personally, I have always struggled with débrouiller, in all its “declinaisons”. Ok on its own, when I’m concentrating, but it invariably causes problems when I try to fit it seamlessly into a sentence. Sadly, the much easier “je vais me démerder” is just not acceptable in some contexts. And for some reason I can never get ‘récapitulatif’ out in one go.

    Comment by rich — December 8, 2006 @ 12:05 pm

  63. fauteuil – that’s a very tricky one.

    Et plus … and not least, does it have the same ending sound as ‘millefeuille’ ? In conversation, and in song ?

    Just imagine what an important question that must be for all those Francophonic lyricists … could you use ‘fauteuil’ and ‘millefeuille’ in rhyming couplets in French ? After all, that’s exactly where you’d always want to eat a millefeuille.

    Or would the final ‘e’ break out in song as ‘millefeuill-e’, thus destroying the entire lyrical effect ?

    It’s a thought which would often crop up as I was eating cakes in Switzerland, learning imperfect Fribourg French amongst the petites suisses. Yet strangely, I always forgot to ask.

    So even now, the world awaits, and I think we should be told …

    Comment by roadsofstone — December 8, 2006 @ 12:24 pm

  64. My flatmate has been doing the online dating thing and she has managed to find ever wanker in London.

    A month ago she announced that she was going to go out on a date with this last guy that she was talking to- and if it didn’t work out she was done. . .

    They’ve been seeing each other and they are both smitten!

    You never know. . .

    Comment by Nicole — December 8, 2006 @ 1:26 pm

  65. I can never get my mouth around ‘contemporain’.
    A French friend working at WH Smith in the UK was forced to answer the phone with the name of the firm then ‘How can i help you’, which left her winded for any subsequent conversation.

    Comment by Andrew — December 8, 2006 @ 3:59 pm

  66. Ohhhhhhh….
    Comme le niveau de qualité est basse aujdhui.
    Quel “drivel”, petite anglaise chiante. Je préfère le journal intime de Bridget Jones. T’es le Paris Hilton de blogecrivaines. Faire vomir…

    Comment by chi — December 8, 2006 @ 4:06 pm

  67. Re comment 66

    Well well, someone is in a bad mood today!If you don’t like it, don’t bloody read it!!

    Comment by Hannah Banana — December 8, 2006 @ 4:49 pm

  68. And another tosspot that can p**s off.

    Comment by suze — December 8, 2006 @ 5:20 pm

  69. That’s ‘chi’ by the way(well i’m tired).

    Comment by suze — December 8, 2006 @ 5:23 pm

  70. Hi Petite!
    Indeed, ‘grenouille’ is the worst word to try and pronounce ( or even spell, I’m not sure I’ve got it right even there!)

    I have had countless occasions with mocking French citizens telling me I’m saying it ‘totally wrong’, when to me, it sounds exactly the same as what they are saying.

    Anyway, I wanted to say hello. I have taken up blogging finally. Started reading yours about 4 months ago. Made my first comment on a blog about month ago, and now have started my own blog, finally. So far, it seems to be based on my train-commuting experiences!

    Thankyou for the inspiration.

    Comment by Girl on a Train — December 8, 2006 @ 5:26 pm

  71. Andrew, you’ve really whetted my appetite with your mention of gravad lax, delicious eaten with blinis and ice cold vodka mmmmmmmmmm.

    I really enjoy reading about Petite’s snippets of life like “Girl on a Train” but would never contemplate having my own blog… all those pesky people asking questions all the time, I just couldn’t be doing with it.

    Comment by Susannah — December 8, 2006 @ 7:17 pm

  72. Here are the words my French colleagues have difficulty pronouncing, with hilarious results:

    crisps (they often say crips)
    wasps (they say wops)
    beach (no prizes for guessing what they say for this one and the next one)

    and when I really want to annoy them I get them to say hierarchical

    Comment by cheria — December 8, 2006 @ 7:24 pm

  73. I can just picture that look on your face in the car on the way to IKea! ;-)

    Comment by fjl — December 8, 2006 @ 7:59 pm

  74. Already assembled! Mine still lean against the living/eating room wall waiting my return flight. Had to split the too-heavy wardrobe and make four separate journeys up my staircase. Good thing is, got to know Mlle 2ième etage so well I was coucou-ed by her in the street next morning. Am beginning to feel I might belong here in the rue du Commerce.

    Susannah – I always go for the g.lax and mustard sauce! Pesky – now there’s a word!

    Comment by andrew — December 8, 2006 @ 8:58 pm

  75. ratatouille is hard too (well, not if it’s cooked right – arf arf)

    Comment by mad muthas — December 8, 2006 @ 9:43 pm

  76. J’aime bien l’histoire d’Andrew chez WH Smith :).
    Pour ma part, j’ai un ami canadien qui mourait de rire de m’entendre essayer “Death Valley”. I could never get it right.

    Comment by Laure — December 8, 2006 @ 10:27 pm

  77. Lol, that Mr. Frog sounds like quite the character.

    Comment by Bob King Neverland IIi — December 9, 2006 @ 1:59 am

  78. meetic is for poofs

    Comment by adrian — December 9, 2006 @ 3:44 am

  79. I have always wanted to know how to pronounce “Aix” as in Aix en Provence. I have read this multiple times, but have never heard anyone actually pronounce it. Well, people who know how to pronounce it anyway.

    Comment by Elle — December 9, 2006 @ 4:03 am

  80. Finding the right partner is a challenge, no matter where you are looking. You have to be very patient and sort through all the toads to find your frog in shining armour.

    Comment by AussieGil — December 9, 2006 @ 4:20 am

  81. Grenouille’s never bothered me as much as aeroport… I still can’t pronounce it, and it was a source of much embarassment when I lived in Aix (-en-Provence), which is pronounced like an English ‘x’.
    Thanks for your blog petite!

    Comment by emma — December 9, 2006 @ 3:46 pm

  82. When I was teaching in France I was in the fortunate position of being able to ask classfuls of French kids to say ‘thistle’ (by way of demonstrating the ‘th’).

    Much hilarity would always ensue and we would invariably conclude that they would be far better off saying ‘zissle’ and attracting the women with a sexy French accent.

    Comment by Paola — December 9, 2006 @ 5:55 pm

  83. Mine is “RER”, never got my tongue around that one. Thankfully, I rarely have to visit the banlieu.

    Comment by Carruthers — December 9, 2006 @ 7:13 pm

  84. I have trouble saying “agriculture/agriculteur”, myself.

    Comment by O. — December 9, 2006 @ 7:47 pm

  85. I met up with my two sisters and our three spouses in a restaurant last night which was lovely, especially as we don’t often get the chance because although one sister lives close to me the other one lives near London. At one point the conversation turned to France and I asked my sister which word in the French language she thought was the most difficult to pronounce (she teaches French so is quite well up on these things) and pausing for hardly a second she said “grenouille”. I told her that was just what Petite had said, to which she said “who’s Petite” so I told her all about you and your blog and she was quite intrigued.

    So I suppose the moral of this story has to be…great minds think alike!

    Comment by Susannah — December 9, 2006 @ 9:31 pm

  86. Chi-well piss off then

    RE:pneu, its a silly word. Im all used to beginning P’s followed by consonants being silent, not not-silent-but-soft…

    Comment by Maxi — December 10, 2006 @ 11:31 am

  87. Depending on how I spent Friday, I often have trouble pronouncing “Saturday.”

    Comment by Tim — December 10, 2006 @ 2:09 pm

  88. I knew an English guy called ‘Whewell’. Believe me, that was the frogs ‘grenouille’.

    Comment by Richard of Orléans — December 10, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

  89. How close are we to the next blog P?


    Comment by Sally Lomax — December 10, 2006 @ 4:28 pm

  90. I thought the worst French word was “Rouen”. As Dave Barry said, it is pronounced “Woooon”.

    Actually, I guess the Meetic list is mainly by age. Therefore it is obvious people of the same age will find themselves again.

    Wow, last time I checked, nearly 400 people expressed their admiration for your “profil” in two months.

    Comment by Phersu — December 10, 2006 @ 7:02 pm

  91. …I’m afraid I will never, ever be able to word “twinkle, little star” half as convincingly as Tadpole does…

    Comment by Géronimo — December 11, 2006 @ 9:57 am

  92. I can confirm that, after 4 years in the UK, people still laugh when I say “squirrel”. but I guess “ecureuil” is tricky too…

    Comment by martial — December 11, 2006 @ 3:09 pm

  93. My A level French teacher used the verb ‘cueillir’ every time we learnt a new conjugation – we were a very silent class as a result.

    Thanks Petite for the inspiration to start a blog.

    Comment by gerbil — December 11, 2006 @ 4:34 pm

  94. I’m still working on pronouncing English words like “Onamonapeia”

    By the way, my blog “Jane Lake Makes a Mistake” is a finalist in the 2006 Weblog Awards for Best New Blog.

    I could really use your endorsement.


    Comment by Jane Lake — December 11, 2006 @ 5:05 pm

  95. How about “Neuilly” for a real anglo pronunciation marathon

    Try having the French pronounce squirrel to get a chuckle

    Comment by rocket — December 11, 2006 @ 6:49 pm

  96. Don’t even get me started on anything that ends in “ought” for the French

    Comment by rocket — December 11, 2006 @ 6:53 pm

  97. The alphabet can be a problem sometimes. When the receptionist at our surgery told me I needed to see an ORL (oto-rhino-l? or ear nose and throat doctor) I misheard ‘eau airelle’ and asked if you could buy it at the chemist!

    Comment by Sablonneuse — December 11, 2006 @ 9:15 pm

  98. Sablonneuse (is that for “Sandy”?), this is a very good one. ‘Eau airelle’ made me LOL.


    Comment by Laure — December 12, 2006 @ 12:55 am

  99. “Aberystwyth” caused HUGE problems for our French friends who stayed with us a couple of years ago, and were going on to visit “Aberystwyth” “Monmouth” and Oswestry. Hubby said after they had gone that it might be better if next time they visit places that they can pronounce!


    Comment by Sally Lomax — December 12, 2006 @ 1:02 am

  100. Did you know that most bilangual couple always have an argument over a misunderstanding of their respective language, if that makes any sences to you.Any how , me french girl married to english man ,and having french mum with english dad , it seems crazy but when we are having a conversation it tend to be difficult sometimes as words means others ,but most of the times it’s quite funny as everything become a joke ! Et vive le franglais!

    Comment by diane from gibraltar — December 12, 2006 @ 11:27 am

  101. Congratulations for not allowing the highly spooky internet match-making to plunge you into a ‘maybe we are meant for each other’ tangent, which I am sure it would have done to me, fickle thing that I am. I look forward to the day that my ex and I are able to spend such a platonic day together.

    Comment by Susie — December 12, 2006 @ 8:26 pm

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