One of the best things after the excitement of Christmas is to enjoy the gifts offered by family and friends.
Once more, my husband managed to give me great gifts. Okay, I tipped him for one of the books he offered me. Only because we both read quite a lot and lose track of what we buy at the bookstore, borrow from the library or order on Amazon.
I heard Ralph Keyes on NPR a few days before winter break as I was waiting in the school pick up lane. Since I’ve always enjoyed how my native French and the American languages use different words or expressions to say the same thing, I listened with interest to Mr. Keyes talk about his new book called Euphemania Our Love Affair with Euphemisms.
I knew I had to add the book to my Christmas wish list. I could only benefit from such a book. More than once, as I was a new comer, American euphemisms make me pédaler dans la choucroute or pedal through sauerkraut as we say in my native France when you are in deep —- how do we say already in American?
Asking for the restroom when we say the toilettes in French was bizarre years ago although I have now a hard time to not say salle de bains or bathroom when I return to my native country.
Of course everybody knows that the French don’t blush when they talk of their bodies and their diverse functions. But my American-born children refer to their stomachs for anything happening between their neck and their thighs. BM, PMS, UTI, IBS and many more abbreviated words belong to my American vocabulary but not to my French culture where a stomach is a stomach and intestines are either the small or the large.
Euphemisms not only evolve from epoch to epoch but vary from culture to culture. After so many years spent in the USA, I have forgotten a few French euphemisms. Am I already having a senior moment as we say in the USA or est-ce que je perds la boule (losing the ball, ball used in this case for head) as we say in France?
– Evelyne Holingue