Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pronunciation: The key between blood and boobs

So today in class, my students asked how to say "blood" in French.  I wrote "le sang" on the board, and before I could pronounce it, someone pronounced it as it sounds in English.  Literally "le" and "sang" (like sang a song).  The correct pronunciation is more like "sahn" but a nasally n sound.

I made that same mistake back in my day when I lived in France.  I was trying to say there was blood somewhere, but little did I know, with my American pronunciation of the word, I was actually saying there were boobs somewhere.  In French, breasts are "les seins" which is pronounced like you would say "sang" in English.

So I started giggling when this student blurted out what they THOUGHT was the pronunciation.  Of course, they were intrigued why I was giggling, so I wrote "les seins" on the board.  I pronounced both for them, without giving them meanings.  I then wrote the English translation next to each word and re-pronounced each one.  It didn't take them long to realize they were saying breasts instead of blood.  The reaction was quite hilarious.

And now they're going to go home and tell their parents they learned the difference between blood and boobs today.  I'm such a great teacher.....

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