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#116131 - 11/17/03 09:29 PM "Excuse my French"?
gift horse Offline
member

Registered: 11/03/03
Posts: 180
Loc: Austin, TX
(Uh oh, another French post by gift horse).

I went out with a friend yesterday and noticed that each time she cursed she said, "Excuse my French". Aside from being slightly annoyed, I started to wonder, where did this saying come from? Is it my imagination that it seems a derogatory statement -- however indirectly -- towards the French? I've heard it numerous times, but didn't know its history. The saying seemed particularly ironic since many of the words my friend was apologizing for don't seem to have French origins. I did a little search in google and found this:

http://answers.google.com/answers/main?cmd=threadview&id=232360

Do any of you know if these answers are accurate?


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#116132 - 11/17/03 09:58 PM pardon my French
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose..


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#116133 - 11/17/03 11:22 PM Re: "Excuse my French"?
Bobyoungbalt Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/22/00
Posts: 1289
My take on this is that the speaker is implying that [s]he is saying something in a language other than the usual English and makes a faux apology the same as one might do who dropped a Latin or Greek phrase into a casual conversation. Why French? I think it's an arbitrary choice because it's the most likely to be a second language for English speakers. I have never had the impression that there was any derogatory implication towards France, the French, their mores or their language. I could be wrong.


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#116134 - 11/18/03 08:29 AM Re: "Excuse my French"?
wsieber Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 1026
Loc: Switzerland
I have never had the impression that there was any derogatory implication towards France On the surface, there certainly was - but probably weighed up by that certain secret envy.


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#116135 - 11/18/03 08:39 AM Re: "Excuse my French"?
wwh Offline
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858

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#116136 - 11/18/03 09:33 AM Re: "Excuse my French"?
wow Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 3439
Loc: New England, USA
More often I have heard the phrase "pardon the language" when one slips a naughty word into conversation. Haven't heard the French connection for yonks years.


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#116137 - 11/18/03 09:38 AM Re: pardon my French
gift horse Offline
member

Registered: 11/03/03
Posts: 180
Loc: Austin, TX
plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose..

Oui! Some people party like it's 1899.


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#116138 - 11/18/03 10:00 AM Re: pardon my French
dxb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/06/02
Posts: 1692
Loc: UK
1899 - Ahhh! "La Belle Epoque", quand le plaisir régnait!


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#116139 - 11/20/03 02:28 PM Re: "Excuse my French"?
rav Offline
member

Registered: 12/07/02
Posts: 122
Loc: Poland, Cracow
In Poland, we say "Excuse my Latin"



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#116140 - 11/20/03 02:48 PM Re: "Excuse my Latin"
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
rav!


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#116141 - 11/21/03 06:51 AM Re: "Excuse my French"?
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
excuse my Latin

- which resonates with byb's response - I, also, had always taken the same take (if you see what I mean!)


And nice to see you back again, rav!

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#116142 - 11/24/03 06:45 PM Re: "Excuse my French"?
Zed Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/27/02
Posts: 2154
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Interesting that most people say "excuse my French" after using "Anglo-Saxon" words. A hold over from when vulger language and swear words came from the Anglo-saxon lower class not the Normon/FRench upper class.


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#116143 - 11/25/03 05:05 PM Re: "Excuse my French"?
Capfka Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/28/02
Posts: 1624
Loc: Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
Oh, I doubt the expression is that old. You probably only need to go back to the Napoleonic Wars (or any other time - or any time - when the English have decided to hold the French up as an example of all that is execrable ...)


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#116144 - 11/25/03 07:07 PM Re: "Excuse my French"?
Zed Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/27/02
Posts: 2154
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
But most of the curse-words are that old.


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#116145 - 11/30/03 10:30 AM Re: "Excuse my French"?
gift horse Offline
member

Registered: 11/03/03
Posts: 180
Loc: Austin, TX
But most of the curse-words are that old.

But are most curse-words really of Anglo-Saxon origin? I'm only asking because I'm too lazy to look all of them up in my book of Etymology.



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#116146 - 11/30/03 01:57 PM Re: "Excuse my French"?
rav Offline
member

Registered: 12/07/02
Posts: 122
Loc: Poland, Cracow
You probably only need to go back to the Napoleonic Wars (or any other time - or any time - when the English have decided to hold the French up as an example of all that is execrable ...)

Then how you'll explain that expression with 'Latin'? I may also add that we call it "kitchen Latin" or "backyard Latin" - these are strict translations from Polish, but I also saw such English expression: "dog Latin". Well, it can't be SO old



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#116147 - 12/01/03 10:52 AM Re: "Excuse my French"?
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
Hi Giftie, and all,

I'm currently skimming through The English: A Protrait of a People, by Jeremy Paxman, and discovered some of the many negative terms associated with 'French' (leave, kisses, drive [in cricket], and so on), but, beautifully, some French retaliation as well. Most delicious is les Anglais ont débarqué for menstruation. Which, with all that I've been smoking, gives rise to a

[fantasia]

Of French origin, but affecting a neatly Puritan outlook, young Paul Revere is in an agony of anxiety, fearful that his dreadful secret will come out and he will be ostracised, or worse, by his community.

Then, his mistress tells him the good news, and already driven half-crazy by fear, he snaps, and announces his delight to the world, running through the streets of Lexington and Concord, ringing out the wild bells and screaming his ecstasy - except he does it in his adopted language, English, translating it literally and unwittingly kick-starting the United States of America.

[/fantasia]

cheer

the sunshine warrior


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#116148 - 12/01/03 11:29 AM Bravo
gift horse Offline
member

Registered: 11/03/03
Posts: 180
Loc: Austin, TX
Either you have the most creative mind on earth, or I need to start smoking what you're smoking. Perhaps bother are true. Well done at any rate.


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#116149 - 12/01/03 11:51 AM Re: "Excuse my French"?
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Ok--now I get it. Funny! les Anglais ont débarqué = The British have landed.



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#116150 - 12/01/03 12:42 PM My Ron Obvious moment
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
Just to top and tail it - I presume the phrase arose because of the British Redcoats....


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#116151 - 12/01/03 03:07 PM Re: My Ron Obvious moment
Zed Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/27/02
Posts: 2154
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
You're both twisted. But funny!


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#116152 - 12/01/03 03:22 PM Re: Bravo
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
You smoke what I smoke and they'll take away your voting privileges - this is Jeb's state we're talking about, right?


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#116153 - 12/01/03 03:45 PM Re: Bravo
gift horse Offline
member

Registered: 11/03/03
Posts: 180
Loc: Austin, TX
You smoke what I smoke and they'll take away your voting privileges - this is Jeb's state we're talking about, right?

Good point.
Oh well, I already smoke figuratively at any rate.


Smokin' Giftie


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#116154 - 12/02/03 10:08 AM Re: Bravo
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
I already smoke figuratively

And you get what: a metaphorical high? or tied in picturesque knots?

chuckle

the sunshine warrior


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#116155 - 12/02/03 11:29 AM Re: Bravo
gift horse Offline
member

Registered: 11/03/03
Posts: 180
Loc: Austin, TX
...or tied in picturesque knots?

Would I be tied up or down?





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