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

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:


Do any of you know if these answers are accurate?

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

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10538
Loc: this too shall pass
plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose..

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

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.

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

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 1027
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.

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

#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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

#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

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