Being Rude Feels So Much More Natural in French

Franck has told me time and time again that we should have known what we had gotten ourselves into when we named our middle daughter Camille; the name of a long line of feisty females from the sculptor Camille Claudel to the alternative French singer also named CAMILLE (in capital letters only, svp).

True to form, our Camille has been going through a particularly feisty phase of late; so fiesty that she often spills over into downright rudeness.

This fiesty / rude phase has coincided with the fact that Camille has really begun to master the English language, and has started to speak to Franck and Charlotte and I in English instead of French. I’m frankly shocked that of all my children, it is Camille whom we have to remind to speak French. But then, one of the (very few) things I have learned as a parent is that our kids are put on earth to surprise us.

Anyway, when Camille starts yammering away in English at home we all remind her to switch over to French (except for Charlotte who is immeasurably annoyed by Camille’s English “persona’ and simply hits her).

But the English is not really the problem. The talking back is the problem.

When we ask her to do something, Camille has begun to favour little chasers to her responses along the lines of “whatever…” and “what do you want from me!?”

The only thing is that while the first part of the sentence comes out in English, the truly offensive bit comes invariably in French. Case in point:

Me: “Camille, please but your boots away.”

Camille: “I’m going to do that right now – qu’estce que tu me veux!?!”

After taking her to task for DARING to talk to me that way (and after the tears had dried), I just had to ask – how was it that the truly rude part of the sentence came out in French?

Camille shrugged. “Being rude in English just doesn’t sound right.”

2 thoughts on “Being Rude Feels So Much More Natural in French

  1. A Novel Woman

    Too funny! Tell Camille she'd fit right in in my neck of the woods.(g)

    I don't know how old she is, but I remember age six as being the most challenging year of childhood. Someone warned me that stage of development was worse than the terrible twos, and it WAS, with all three of them. The good thing is, they turn seven. Eventually.

  2. alli

    Claudia, who just turned seven, likes to sass me in French. As her language skills far exceed mine, I am always unsure of exactly what she has said to me. Fortunately, her turncoat sister usually rats her out. Just waiting until they figure it out and join forces.

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