Je n’aime pas manger les preservatifs

When I was a nanny in France, I had to spend the first few weeks adjusting to the new language. My French was very, very basic when I arrived. However, I discovered that with many words, I could say them in English with a bit of a French accent–and they meant the same thing.

For any word ending in -tion, for example, just add the French accent and voila! A new word for your vocabulary. Conversation is conversation with the French accent. Conservative is conservatif. Preservation is preservation. And so on.

One day, Madame Andoka (my host family’s mother) asked me what I liked to eat so she could shop accordingly. I said that I like anything. I prefer things fresh though. Fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh meats and dairy. I would rather eat fresh than prefab meals. I just don’t like the chemicals and preservatives. I told her: Je n’aime pas manger les preservatifs. She looked at me with raised eyebrows and sort of smirked. Apparently I had just stated, rather matter-of-factly: “I don’t like to eat condoms.”

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