07 June 2010

A France! - Say Whaaat?

Hello again!

Today my entry will be on sounds in France. Though it seems as though certain things wouldn't be affected by language or related to language, already in my few days here I have noticed a difference.

In the US, in general we all use the same words to signify certain sounds. Those of you who paid attention in English in high school will remember that these are called Onomatopeia. (Side note: I spelled that right on the first try!)
Some common examples are "Achoo" for a sneeze, "WaaaaAAaaaa" for the siren of a police car or firetruck, or "Boom!" for an explosion. I will admit the written version of the siren is rather weak. My apologies.

I was suprised to learn that in France, these sounds are not the same! I think since I am in the house with a baby around, I might be more exposed to it, but here are the ones I have heard so far:

"Atchoum!" for, as you might imagine, a sneeze. And when someone sneezes here, they actually enunciate the M!
"Paaaaaam, pooohhhn" for the siren. This one makes sense because the siren actually sounds like that here. I will perform this sound at your request when I am back.
"Boum" is nearly the same as its English counterpart, but they really pronounce the "U". Little Achile being the typical boy, says this very often. He crashes his toy trucks together and says it over and over, "Boum! Bada bada bouuum!"

Your french phrase for the day is: à tes souhaits!
à tes souhaits is the french equivalent of "Bless you!" and I have been saying it alot! There is a lot of pollen out now that the summer has arrived. This is pronounced like: ah tay'soo-ay. But you say it very quickly!
Won't you look smart, blessing people en français?

Til next time,


  1. Stephanie, you are just as funny in France, and I imagine that you sound the same no matter where you are :).

    I will definitely need to hear a sampling of the sounds when you get back.

  2. Aw thanks! I'm glad my humor can be appreciated long distance! :) I am available for your sampling needs as soon as I return! :)