Thursday, December 07, 2006

I could fit right in 

I grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire, on the south side of town surrounded by many French-Canadian descendants for whom French was the language of the dinner table*. My mother is half-Quebecois, half-Yankee, but speaks no French at all, and neither did her mother (my own French was learned in a public school and is badly out of practice). Quebeckers, as we called them, just cuss funny, as Tuesday's Washington Post points out. My father would laugh at each "crisse" that would come from the neighbors' mouths. My favorite was "il crisse de mateau", or "he Christ the hammer". (Two of my three French-Canadian neighbors had fathers in construction, so maybe that's why.) I guess that is less common that using parts of the Catholic church in cussing, something the church is trying to stop. Having drunk many times at the Cercle National Club -- closest club to my alma mater -- I think it safe to say that cure won't take in Manchester.

So, much like people say "arrrrgh" to talk like a pirate, you can just say "crisse" and talk like a Quebecker.

h/t: Craig Newmark. Yeah, Craig, I did know this already.

*--The west side of the city was always known as Little Canada, so when I came to Minnesota and found there was a suburb with that name I thought I had found home. But of course Little Canada is related to Anglophone Canada, not Francophone.