One amusing little aspect of the French language for us foreigners is having to adapt to an entirely new audio lexicon of sounds. Clearly, speaking French requires you to form different sorts of linguistic sounds from regular Anglo-phonics, such as having to phlegm-up your ‘r’s, make the monkey mouth for ‘oo’ and grunting through your nose for various vowels.

Additionally it requires you to learn how to mimic other sounds and noises, but with a French twang. For example:

  • A French duck goes ‘coin’ not ‘quack’
  • A French pig goes ‘groin’ not ‘grunt’
  • A French fire-engine goes ‘pan-pon’ not ‘nee-naw’
  • A Frenchman says ‘Bah dit donc!’ not ‘lor, luv a duck!’

This may seem trivial. However, if you’re unable to even answer the most basic childish question ‘what noise does a (insert animal) make’ – you can appear, to the French, to be rather er… thick.

Now – what noise does a car make?

Er… bah dit donc!