It is an universal truth that, if you want to impress your interlocutors, you need to use French words and expressions when you speak.
Well, as I happen to be (less and less, I must admit) French, it doesn’t do the trick for me. The thing is, most of the time, I don’t understand what is being said. It has something to do with pronunciation. We usually stress the last syllable in French whereas the British seem to love stressing the first one. Believe me, it changes everything.
However, I am trying hard to be nice. Really hard. I will do my very best to understand what is being said but it is not as easy as it looks. I will even compliment the other person because he/she has made an effort. This is also because I hate it when people try to correct me. I am sure that they are trying to help, but don’t you think that there is something deeply annoying when someone makes a point of correcting what you have just said despite the fact that they understood what you meant perfectly well?
Well, now, here is my dilemma: a colleague of mine keeps writing, at every possible opportunity ‘un fait a complir’, instead of ‘un fait accompli’. You all know that a fait accompli is a thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected know about it, leaving them with no choice but to accept it and get over it. I am concerned that it might, at some point, give the wrong impression of the team (look at those who-it-alls who can’t even spell correctly…) So, should I correct him or not ? He seems very proud of being able to show off his French skills and I don’t want to give him a lecture because I am not a teacher and, unlike far too many people around me, I hate to show that I am right. I have learned to choose my battles and I don’t really want to fight this one.
The thing is, whatever nationality you are, some things never change: some people have to be right. My former boss used to be like that : she once asked me how to write a French word (I think that it was savoir faire). I obliged, only to be told that she was sure that it wasn’t the right spelling. You see, she was certain it was savoirfair. I knew I was right but didn’t say anything. What was the point? She was so convinced that she knew better that I had to let it go. What if the same happens with this colleague on ‘fait a complir’?
So tell me, what should I do? I was thinking of waiting for the right time and casually mention that it was ‘fait accompli’. It might be worth a try. What would you do?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London