The French may not go around saying ‘zut alors’ and ‘sacre bleu’, but that doesn’t stop us Brits from using Pop Culture Foreignish on holiday
Pity the British tabloid headline-writer on his annual holiday. He falls off his easyJet in Nice, hails a waiter with a cheery “garçon!”, exclaims “sacre bleu!” when the food comes, a less enthused “zut alors!” when the bill arrives, “ooh la la!” when he spots a girl changing on the promenade, asks her “voulez-vous coucher avec moi”, then issues a philosophical “comme ci comme ça” when she scuttles off, and never, in all of that, says anything meaningful to French ears.
It will be too late for many this summer, but language-learning app Babbel has just issued a list of terms to be avoided in foreign parts, for fear of uttering embarrassingly dated or off-key language. They include all of the above. Plus their Italian equivalents, such as “Mamma mia”, and the Spanish, “Hasta la vista”.