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"Excuse my French"? #116131
11/18/03 02:29 AM
11/18/03 02:29 AM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 180
Austin, TX
gift horse Offline OP
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gift horse  Offline OP
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(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?


pardon my French #116132
11/18/03 02:58 AM
11/18/03 02:58 AM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
this too shall pass
tsuwm Offline
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this too shall pass
plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose..


Re: "Excuse my French"? #116133
11/18/03 04:22 AM
11/18/03 04:22 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 1,289
B
Bobyoungbalt Offline
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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.


Re: "Excuse my French"? #116134
11/18/03 01:29 PM
11/18/03 01:29 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,027
Switzerland
wsieber Offline
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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.


Re: "Excuse my French"? #116135
11/18/03 01:39 PM
11/18/03 01:39 PM
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Re: "Excuse my French"? #116136
11/18/03 02:33 PM
11/18/03 02:33 PM
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New England, USA
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wow Offline
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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.


Re: pardon my French #116137
11/18/03 02:38 PM
11/18/03 02:38 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 180
Austin, TX
gift horse Offline OP
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plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose..

Oui! Some people party like it's 1899.


Re: pardon my French #116138
11/18/03 03:00 PM
11/18/03 03:00 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,692
UK
D
dxb Offline
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UK
1899 - Ahhh! "La Belle Epoque", quand le plaisir régnait!


Re: "Excuse my French"? #116139
11/20/03 07:28 PM
11/20/03 07:28 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 122
Poland, Cracow
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rav Offline
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Poland, Cracow
In Poland, we say "Excuse my Latin"



Re: "Excuse my Latin" #116140
11/20/03 07:48 PM
11/20/03 07:48 PM
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Posts: 6,511
lower upstate New York
AnnaStrophic Offline
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rav!


Re: "Excuse my French"? #116141
11/21/03 11:51 AM
11/21/03 11:51 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
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R
RhubarbCommando Offline
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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!

Re: "Excuse my French"? #116142
11/24/03 11:45 PM
11/24/03 11:45 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 2,154
British Columbia, Canada
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Zed Offline
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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.


Re: "Excuse my French"? #116143
11/25/03 10:05 PM
11/25/03 10:05 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 1,624
Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
Capfka Offline
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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 ...)


Re: "Excuse my French"? #116144
11/26/03 12:07 AM
11/26/03 12:07 AM
Joined: Aug 2002
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British Columbia, Canada
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Zed Offline
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British Columbia, Canada
But most of the curse-words are that old.


Re: "Excuse my French"? #116145
11/30/03 03:30 PM
11/30/03 03:30 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 180
Austin, TX
gift horse Offline OP
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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.



Re: "Excuse my French"? #116146
11/30/03 06:57 PM
11/30/03 06:57 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 122
Poland, Cracow
R
rav Offline
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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



Re: "Excuse my French"? #116147
12/01/03 03:52 PM
12/01/03 03:52 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,004
London, UK
shanks Offline
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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


Bravo #116148
12/01/03 04:29 PM
12/01/03 04:29 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
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Austin, TX
gift horse Offline OP
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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.


Re: "Excuse my French"? #116149
12/01/03 04:51 PM
12/01/03 04:51 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 11,613
Louisville, Kentucky
Jackie Offline
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Ok--now I get it. Funny! les Anglais ont débarqué = The British have landed.



My Ron Obvious moment #116150
12/01/03 05:42 PM
12/01/03 05:42 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,004
London, UK
shanks Offline
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shanks  Offline
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Just to top and tail it - I presume the phrase arose because of the British Redcoats....


Re: My Ron Obvious moment #116151
12/01/03 08:07 PM
12/01/03 08:07 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 2,154
British Columbia, Canada
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Zed Offline
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Zed  Offline
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Z
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Posts: 2,154
British Columbia, Canada
You're both twisted. But funny!


Re: Bravo #116152
12/01/03 08:22 PM
12/01/03 08:22 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,004
London, UK
shanks Offline
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shanks  Offline
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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?


Re: Bravo #116153
12/01/03 08:45 PM
12/01/03 08:45 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 180
Austin, TX
gift horse Offline OP
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gift horse  Offline OP
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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


Re: Bravo #116154
12/02/03 03:08 PM
12/02/03 03:08 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,004
London, UK
shanks Offline
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shanks  Offline
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London, UK
I already smoke figuratively

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

chuckle

the sunshine warrior


Re: Bravo #116155
12/02/03 04:29 PM
12/02/03 04:29 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 180
Austin, TX
gift horse Offline OP
member
gift horse  Offline OP
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Austin, TX
...or tied in picturesque knots?

Would I be tied up or down?





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