But the Dutch Speak Four Languages and Smoke Marijuana!

14 12 2011

I like the French. I do. Really. They can do amazing things with food. Sometimes even culinary things. Their wine isn’t too shoddy either. You wouldn’t want to rely on them in a war of course, but generally speaking they are a pleasant bunch. Cultured, refined, a little nicotine-ridden, but generally not too bad at all. Oh I forgot underwear. It’s amazing what they manage to do with a scrap of left over lace, some ribbon and a gloriously filthy mind. Their language is romantic too. Technically it’s a “romance language”, but let’s not go there. So I was reminded of an hilarious Eddie Izzard act I once saw on video. Thankfully it’s on YouTube, so I can even share it with my one reader. Just checking through it, I was reminded that Eddie’s “Dressed To Kill” recording was actually done in the US. The sketch I’m referring to has him speaking “schoolboy” French in a damned funny way… if you understand what the hell he’s on about. Of course, given his audience, this may not in fact be generally the case.

He warms up the audience to the theme by misquoting Shaw: “England and America are two countries separated by the Atlantic Ocean“. The mixed response leaves him unflustered, but he feels he should educate the masses with the actual quote: “England and America are two countries separated by the same language“. Of course, he then attributes it incorrectly to Wilde, who ACTUALLY wrote “We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language“. Next up he points out how Americans (and many Canadians, it has to be said) pronounce things differently to Brits. (We’ll leave Yorkshiremen out of the discussion for now – let’s keep it simple!) He uses Aluminum/Aluminium, centrifugal, and a few other examples. But without doubt, my favourite is “You say ‘erbs, and we say herbs… because there’s a fucking ‘h’ in it!” This is without doubt one of the most irritating things about the generic North America accent. The over emphasis on ‘r’, turning the delicate, poetic, ever breathy “herbs’ into “uRbs”.

His theory on the spelling of “through’ in order to gain more points in Scrabble is more than witty, as is his Dutch repost to why it’s quite safe to learn a foreign language. But all this just to lead up to his hilarious tale of how to work standard schoolboy French sentences such as “the mouse is underneath the table” into a real conversation…

I was impressed however by how many in the audience laughed when he tells the President of Burundi that his grandmother is on fire… all in French.

“If you don’t speak French by the way – all that was fucking funny” being the classic finger to the less educated in the audience.

He leaves a few in the dust by deliberately mistranslating “douche” as spider, but they’ve already paid their entrance, and he’s on a roll.

Anyway, I urge you to open your mind, sit back and enjoy Mr Izzard (he’s a transvestite… but very heterosexual) being as bigoted as only the inheritors of a lost Empire can be. Actually, he was born in Yemen, but I’ve never been one to let a few facts spoil a good yarn…

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