What’s With All The Seals?

Even in marriages that are 30+ years old, little moments of surprise can pop out of nowhere in a conversation.

As background, I am married to a French-Canadian who didn’t really learn English until his mid-20s.

As further background, the french word for “seal” is phoque.  It is pronounced “fuck”.  I’m not joking.

Let’s just say that the years before my sons could properly differentiate between french and english words were interesting when the outing involved marine mammals.

Meanwhile, back to my story, Gilles and I were enjoying this gorgeous Friday evening sitting outside with an adult beverage when he made the random comment that as a young teenager, he thought English people were really weird.

“I mean, it was always Fuck This and Fuck That and I thought – what’s with all the seals?”

… I nearly spewed my drink all over him …

FuckLaMode
Quebec City – 2015

 

 

109 comments

    • I just went back to look at my niece’s much earlier comment. She mentioned ‘La phoque en Alaska’ which Gilles was familiar with. Not sure if that is the one you’re talking about.

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  1. I have returned from the Wild West and came looking for you on here just because I knew there would be something to make me smile….you certainly didn’t disappoint with this one. Someday I’m really going to have to meet the other half of your duo….the two of you together sound like a riot!

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  2. Mitsubishi have a 4WD drive called a ‘Pajero’ This cracks up the Spanish, which means wanker, which I think is appropriate. (Sorry if you own one of these), Sealing off now. M

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    • Funny! We were just talking last night about the difficulty global companies have with naming products because of the quirks of different languages.
      This is a perfect example!

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          • We all say vowels differently. You probably think Kiwis sound the same as Aussies but we can both pick each other a mile away. I know you Canadians are different to Yanks, and I’m getting better at picking it. You’re probably horrified at that.

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              • Not really. I work with a Seth Efrican as well as many Kiwis; about 20 different origins. Someone from Northern BC, as well as a Texan. I enjoy the diversity of my workplace. I can see there is a similarity between the 3 nations, for sure. Your seal story is a beauty. Thanks for sharing it 😊

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                  • Post note: I just asked my other French colleague how he said seal in French – exactly as you’ve described. He said maybe it was a dialect vowel pronunciation issue. Anyway he and his French wife have two littlies. They speak French fluently. He took them to the zoo and when they saw the seals they kept saying “phoque, phoque, Père , les phoques” with many disapproving looks from other onlookers!

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                    • I know those looks!!!!

                      When my boys were young, they spoke a strange mix of english with french words intermingled in their sentences. In their case, the sentence would be something like “Look Papa, there’s a phoque”.

                      Ah, good times 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah too funny and I had a good chuckle because my partner is French too but his son as born in the U.S. And has told me a very similar story with regards to their first visit to a zoo!

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  4. Ok, that’s weird… and funny. I just passed by that store yesterday. I thought about taking a picture but decided against it… maybe I need to go back. It is pretty funny when words that sound the same mean something very different in different languages. You have to be careful.

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  5. Hehhe. I can relate partly since my amore is Italian and has only been learning spoken English with me – before he only knew it in writing (since they even dub English-speaking films into Italian!) – whereas I’m Slovenian. It can be worlds apart, but I cannot remember anything remotely as funny as your little story there. 😀

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  6. Thank you for starting my day off with a chuckle. 🙂 When I was a kid, there would be the occasional four letter word starting with ‘f’ written on a store window with soap. Now that was out there. Now, the same word is used as a noun, verb, adjective, and adverb by children and adults of all ages. 🙂

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    • That’s so true Judy. When I was a kid growing up, we just didn’t hear bad language. I was once punished for using the word “damn”.

      Now colourful language in all its various forms are heard everywhere.

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  7. Hilarious!

    I think everyone who’s ever tried to learn a new language, has had experiences like this. In my native country, the Americans I worked with, found it odd that we used the word fuck so freely … when we as a matter of fact were talking about the labour union (facket). It sounds like fuck it, though. “The End”, like in a movie, is “Slut” in my language. Go figure 🙂

    I have the impression that people here, in North America, are much more sensitive to swear words and foul language, than back home.

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  8. That is hilarious!! I had some trouble learning German when I married my Berlin born and raised husband 30 years ago. I wanted to learn enough so I could communicate with his parents. After a 3 week visit – my husband informed me that every night I told his parents “good naked” (nackt) instead of good night (nacht).

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    • OMG – that’s too funny!! How generous of your husband to wait until the END of the visit!
      I’ve cracked up Gilles’ family more than a few times with some of the things I’ve inadvertently said 🙂

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  9. We used to sing a song in my high school guitar class called ‘La phoque en Alaska’ that would never fail to set the whole gang of 14 year-olds snickering. Even at the time I knew the teacher was doing it to get a rise out of us 🙂

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  10. I think all you guys and girls are getting off on using vulgar language and pretending it’s OK. My wife says I’m 13 years old whenever I talk like you are doing here. So all I can say is “welcome to my world”! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It seems to me like the seals in France must be very happy. This kind of reminds me of a photo of a business in Iceland, that I have. They proudly display their name as “FRIGG”. Language can certainly bring us some good laughs.

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  12. English is weird, Gosh it drove me crazy when I learned it. “What is with all the seals,” too funny. I didn’t know that you were French-Canadian. I find out more and more about you and I like it.

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    • haha! I’m not French-Canadian. I’m a 1st generation Dutch-Italian hybrid 😉
      … but my husband is a 5th or 6th generation French-Canadian from Quebec and manages to provide us with random entertainment.

      … but then again, I’m sure you’ve had your own funny moments with the english language 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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