The French Questions

Although I have not spoken French for over 40 years, I remember all of it from junior high. (I was a child prodigy in romance languages.) Even my French teacher said I had an astonishing approach to linguistics. Curious she flunked me. Jealous, no doubt.

Although I have not spoken French for over 40 years, I remember all of it from junior high. (I was a child prodigy in romance languages.)


Even my French teacher said I had an astonishing approach to linguistics. Curious, she flunked me. Jealous, no doubt.

I recently interviewed the head of Quebec. We used his tongue.

Following is our exchange which I translated into English. I have preserved some French to convey the many subtitles of my thoughts. Where appropriate I have supplied translations.

“Monsignor Buccaneer,” I said, “do you want to withdraw?”

“Are you talking to moi?” he asked. (Moi means “me.”)

Oui.” (Oui, means “yes.”)

“I am not a priest, let alone a Monsignor. And the name is Bouchard,” he said. “Premier Bouchard.”

“Premier means first,” moi said, having caught him in his first foe paw. (mistake) “Moi remind you that there have been one or two other people have preceded you in government, my cherry (dear) politician.”

“Premier also means chief. That’s what they call the guy in charge of each province. I don’t know how you get Monsignor out of Monsier,” he said.

Moi am employing the classical French pronunciation,” moi said. “You see mon prof (my teacher) was from Paris, France.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to do this in English?”

“Moi can assure you that moi am bilangual. Please explain why you wish to withdraw from Canuka.”

“Where the hell from?” asked Quebec’s leader.

“It is ze (the) country that has given you your high standard of living. You burn the Canuka flag whenever you want more agents.”

Agents. What do I want with agents?” he demanded.

“You spend them,” moi said, having trapped him on-core (again).

“You mean argents. Money. That what you’re getting at?”

“Oh, moi gets it all!” moi said, forgetting for a squit de vision (blink) moi was a neutral journalist. “Moi knows exactly what is going on with you Q-beks. But moi am sure you are not interested in hearing from a Canuk-er who happens to be bilangual and bisensative.”

“I’d love to hear,” he said.

“Since you asked,” moi said. “You francofits don’t realize that there are many Canuka-ers who respect and appreciate your culture. Out west we study the Montreal Canadians (Montreal Canadians). All you want is more agents!”

“Wrong!” said the head of Quebec. “We don’t want to live in a country with people as thick as you. Goofs like you make it impossible for us to maintain our culture.”

“As a journalist and Canuk-er, moi is not here to trade insults,” moi said, refusing to sink to his level. “Moi am sure our readers would be tray (very) interested to know what you are going to do with your astronauts when you slinker (slink) out of Canuka.”

“We don’t have any astronauts,” he said.

“Fibber,” moi said. “They lived here before you froggers arrived.”

“Astronauts. Our aboriginals?”

Oui,” moi said.

“To tell you the truth,” he said, “we are having a hard time communicating with them.” He seemed sad.

Moi am prepared to talk to them for you,” moi said, sharing his pain. “Moi learned their languages in high school.” Moi felt proud to be a Canadian.

“Please leave immediately,” he said.

It was a humbling experience to realize Monsignor Buccaneer was dispatching moi to act on his behalf among our natives. Moi understood then, Quebec’s head frogger was a true and brave statesman, anxious to unite this great nation.

The prime frogger was begging for help to communicate with our proud but often difficult-to-understand natives. Moi felt a lump in moi’s throat.

Thank Duet (God) moi had learned the many languages of our aboriginals, for now there was a chance for moi to bring Canada together in a series of coops (coups).




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Jaron Summers wrote dozens of primetime television and radio programs, including those for HBO, CBS, ACCESS TV and CBC. He conceived the TV and Film Institute of Canada. Funded by the University of Alberta and ITV, Jaron ran the Institute for 12 years, donating his services for a decade.

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