Monday, April 14, 2014

Je vous en prie

Merci. MERCI. merci. Merci. Merci.

We all know how to say "thank you" in French, right?

Of course! Whether or not we have the accent right, we see that word all the time. It is like "très chic" or "très passé" depending on how old your daughter is and whether she is into Fancy Nancy, (which we totally are).

That was one word I didn't need to learn when I moved here. But the weird thing that I realized today is: I have lived her for over four years and I still say the wrong thing for "you're welcome".

I am not sure why in French class I was taught to say "de rien" as a form of "you're welcome." Perhaps that is what they say more often in Canada? Someone might know the answer to that one. I don't. When I first got here every time I said "merci" people would come back to me with this mumble jumble that started with "je" and ended with what I thought sounded like "grand pri". Like the care race thing.

I finally swallowed my pride one day and asked my friend, "What the HECK are they saying and why doesn't it sound like "de rien"?"

She laughed. "They always say "Je vous en prie", not "de rien".

She then told me of a few more cases of words we learned in school that the common French person does not use in every day life. I can't remember them. Because I was too busy in my mind trying to remember to say "je vous en prie" the next time I heard a "merci" coming my way.

That was three years and a half ago. One time I did say "Je vous en prie" but not after hesitating to remember the phrase and by the time I got it out of my mouth the person was gone, probably mumbling to themselves how rude foreigners are...

I just have that stupid "de rien" in my head. But I am determined to change. And to let word out: Don't learn "De rien" because it is good for "de rien" (nothing). Just learn it right the first time and you won't be the rude foreigner like me!
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