When the husband and I first met, he spoke about 5 words of English and my French was at best very basic. However, we somehow managed to communicate, though many of his jokes in French were completely lost on me (and they still are occasionally, or at least I wish they were!). After a couple of years of living in Australia, he started to pick up English and I discovered that he could be funny in both English and French, though sometimes not intentionally!
During our first 2 years in Australia, Pépé watched a lot of TV and therefore picked up many little slogans and catch phrases. One of his favourite phrases in English was “shalom suckers”. Yes, you read correctly, “shalom suckers”.
I have to admit, I never really realised that he was actually saying “shalom” until about 2 years into our relationship and asked him why he was saying “shalom” (we’re Asian not Jewish!). He mentioned that he had heard it often on TV…then I realised. He actually meant “so long suckers”! But he misheard the “so long” and thought it was “shalom”!
Then there was “I raise my case”. Hmmm, I wasn’t sure why he was raising his case and not resting it! This one took me a couple of years to work out as well!
And then, last week, I came home and found him on the PC typing out an email to a friend who was doing him a favour.
And at the end of the email, he signed off with, “I own you big one”.
Hmm….Pépé owns his friend’s big one?????
A split second later, I said, “wait, don’t send the email!”! But it was too late; he had already hit the Send button. I wanted to know what he meant by owning his friend’s big one! Several explanations later, what he really wanted to say was “I owe you a big one” as in a big favour.
Pépé wasn’t too bothered though. His email was headed for a Spanish ex-colleague who probably wouldn’t understand the phrase anyway! Or at least wouldn’t mind him owning his big one ;-)
To be fair, after 4 years in Australia and having had to work in English for the last few years, Pépé’s English is actually quite good now! (except for the rare cases where he owns his friend’s big one of course!)