Life is a foreign language: all men mispronounce it. – Christopher Morley

It was raining when I arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris yesterday. The custom official asked me “Vous avez- quelque chose   declarer ? Tous vins, spiritueux, cigares, parfums…” . I nervously presumed he was asking me: “Have you anything to declare? Any wines, spirits, cigars, perfumes…” I couragely blurted out the only french line I know: “Excusez-moi, Je ne parle pas francais! ” (Excuse me, I don’t speak french).

Oh my God…I recall my first week in Italy. I felt like a trapped rat not knowing where to run to get my food. It was difficult to communicate so I decided to enroll in an Italian class.

First day of class…

I have never felt so intimidated in a class as I just did in my Italian class. From the moment my severe looking professor showed up, I knew I was in trouble. She was spewing Italian like a champ greeting everyone out in the hallway and I whispered to one of my classmates, “Are we supposed to understand this?”

 I was fine to introduce myself. I tried learning the basic conversations in italian beforehand.

“Mi chiamo Ros (My name is Ros).”

I remember that much at least, but when Professor Martini went around the classroom asking “Come va la vita?” (How’s life treating you?) well I was stumped… mostly I was just terrified at the fact that not only am I taking a class at 8,30 a.m. which is terribly early for me who rarely crawls into bed before 2 a.m., but also that this is a FOREIGN LANGUAGE class.

 Oh oh, I begun perspiring. I frantically tried to retrieve from my memory bank my Spanish in college as it has some similarities with Italian but all I could think about was Adios Patria Adorada, Noli Me Tangere (works of our national hero, Jose Rizal) and how I used to sit in class reading a love letter inside my spanish book. Luckily I received a high grade for Spanish but that was approximately one million years ago!

I managed to make it through class with my sweating palms, nervously writing down all the words I didn’t understand and promising myself to study those first five chapters my Professor asked me to do. grr

It’s good for me to feel dumb sometimes, keeps me in my place.


Today, I learned 10 phrases in French …here are some examples with matching pronunciation:

A. During candid conversation

  • 1. “Would you stop spitting on me while you’re talking!”

“Voulez-vous cesser de me cracher dessus pendant que vous parlez!”

(voo – lay voo se – say de me cra – shay de – su pen – dan que voo parl – ay)

  • 2. “Reality and you don’t get on, do they?”

“Le réalité et toi, vous ne vous entendez pas, n’est-ce pas?”

(le ree – al – ee – tay eh twa voo ne voo zen – ten – day pah nes pah)

B. On helping others

  • 3. “Stop bothering me!”

“Parle à mon cul, ma tête est malade” (parl a mon cul, ma teht eh ma – lahd)

  • 4. “Do it yourself.”

“Faites-le vous-même”  (fay – teh le voo mehm)

C. Inside a restaurant…

  • 5. “This restaurant isn’t as good as Mc.Donald’

“Ce restaurant n’est pas aussi bon que le Mc.Donalds’
(se re – staw – ran neh pas o – si bon ke le mac don – alds)

  • 6. “How many of your customers have died?”

“Combien de vos clients sont morts?” (com – byen de vo clee – ent sont moo – ree)

D. Greetings

  • 7. “Haven’t the police found you yet?”

“La police, ne t’a pas encore trouvé?”

(la po – lees ne ta pa zen – cor troo – vay)

  • 8. “You’ve got a face that would blow off manhole covers”

“T’as une tête a faire sauter les plaques d’egouts!”

(ta zoon tait a fair saw – teh leh plahk de – goo)

E. Dealing with parents of children

  • 9. “Your children are very attractive. Are they adopted?”

“Vos enfants sont très beaux. Ils sont adoptes?”

(vo zen – fant son tray boh. Il sont a – dop – te)

  • 10. “My God your children are ugly!”

“Mon Dieu, que vos enfants sont laids”

(Mon dyer ke voe zen – fant son lay)

By the way, don’t forget to speak french with your nose!



“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day. – Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)

“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.- Robert Louis Stevenson

21 Responses to “Excusez-moi…”


    after the website-building tutorial, french naman ngayon whehehehe. pero mukhang kapag natutunan ko ang turo mo sa french dito, tiyak masasampal ako o mabubugbog kaya hehehe



    sa languages gusto ko matutunan french…

    kaya lang pag inaral ko ata yung nandito hehe magagalit sakin mga tao…^_^



    BEA and JC,

    🙂 Thank you for passing by. The 10 phrases in french are meant for those who doesn’t understand french! 😉



    When I was much younger, ang dami kong libro about different languages…how to speak them…pati nga how to write chinese eh…a little here, a little there ang nangyari sa akin…tayo naman kasing mga pinoy, natural linguists tayo eh…laging tayo ang naga-adjust sa mga foreigners…



    he he he! j’aime votre post aujour’hui mademoiselle and as you can see i don’t write french good now. i spent 2 years au alliance francaise de philadelphie avec mi amis and the reason was that, we go to montreal so we could hada hada les french hommes tu se! he he he

    but i have a very very funny experience when i was in paris with my friend.

    at that time, i was just starting to learn french. so, while at the hotel, i was looking for an iron because jun and i were gonna go somewhere and being in france in rubber shoes was just too provincial. i had to buy leather shoes that cost tres cher!

    in any case, i went down to the lobby and i tried my best to speak in french. i told the lady in french complete with actions that i wanted to – straighten my clothes – and i need that thing to straighen my clothes! i don’t exactly remember what I told her but I was talking in some weird french that she could not understand. to my bewilderment – she responded in english and said – OH, YOU NEED AN IRON!

    shit! ugh! have you ever felt like you wanted to melt at that moment?!



    “j’aime votre post ”

    >>>merci beaucoup Inaay Reynz 😉

    kakatuwa din yun experience mo…ilan beses din yan nangyari sakin, talgang feeling ice cream na nalulusaw sa kapalpakan mag express 😮




    good to hear na you have an inclination to learn different languages. Nakaktuwa namn di ba?

    Tobeo rnott obeth atist heque stion Wheth ertis
    noble rinth emind tosuf ferth eslin gsand arrow
    sofou trage ousfo rtune ortot akear msaga insta
    seaof troub lesan dbyop posin gendt hem? 😉



    lol Ros,

    nilol okomo baako
    onilo lokom oako?

    😀 Kahit baligtad mong ipabasa sa akin yan, mababasa ko yan eh…

    Reynz, ok lang yun, alam naman nilang porenjer ka eh… 😀



    isang tingin ko lang tumawa na ako!




    multi talented talaga ni quote. from html to french… next time spanish naman! i know mas expert ka dyan. ;))



    Aba at ano namang ginawa mo sa pransya? Kung ako ang tinanong ng mga customs na yan malamang nasabi ko lang eh voulez vous avec avec… lol…

    Kamusta na sister?




    buti ka pa nakita mo na multi talented ako, angel ka nga! 🙂

    I think I am more fluent in Italian than Spanish hehehe




    wow, it’s my honor na napadaan ang future Picasso!


    Ano ginawa ko sa pransya? bumili lang ng croissants 🙂

    I’m good, thanks for asking diwa, ikaw?



    Anak ng tipaklong, tagalog!!!
    Pero nakuha ko! 😛




    This is both funny and interesting… thanks for sharing.




    BRAVA! you got it. Yun ang reply ko seo.

    The other one is in english 😉




    welcome to my site. I appreciate your presence here.



    Thank you, thank you!
    grabe pinahirapan mo ako! 😀



    Ang taray ha doon ka pa bumili! Sana naman maisipan mong bumili ng philly cheese steak ng mapadpad ka rine… O kaya ng salt water taffy!!!!

    Picasso???? Sinabi ko na hindi ako artist eh! lol– sister baka kamo susunod na Van Gogh… Dahil drowning ako ng sorrows ngayon… Nagiinum ako ngayon at baka mamaya pag lasing lasing na eh tapyasin ko na lang ang tenga ko– HA HA HA.
    Nabasa mo ba ang email ko sa grupo? Ay nako! Yon ang dahilan!!!!! SIBAK AKO! details sa email.

    Nagpapatulong nga akong umapila kay Ginnang eh.




    ang lapit lang kaya ng Paris d2…1 hr lang…ang layo namn ng Philly!

    sister, I’m hoping you weren’t kidding when you wrote that 🙁



    Diwa, magkano na nga sana yun?



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