Pet Peeve #15: Unnecessarily Using Foreign Words

When I was growing up studying awesome languages like Japanese and Latin, my brother and sister were studying French. To make matters worse, they did this annoying little thing where they’d be talking to each other in English, and all of a sudden one of them would use a heavily accented French word in the place of a perfectly good English word. Example:

Andrew: Hey Emily, are you going out with your friends tonight?

Emily: As a matter of fact, Andre, Melissa and I are going to the cinema at 8:00.

Andrew: Oo…I’ll come if you buy me some delicious, freshly popped flocons de pop-corn!

Jamey: (rolls eyes)

One, it’s annoying. Two, the French word added nothing to the sentence you just said. Three, it’s just plain annoying.

Sure, you’re probably thinking that my cute little brother and sister were just practicing their French. But if you want to practice a foreign language, you need to speak in complete sentences. Don’t throw in a vocab word now and then. Stretch your mind and force yourself to compose a sentence.

Also, bonus pet peeve/tip to all Americans: Kobe beef isn’t pronounced like the basketball player. It’s “koh-bay.” Also, sake is pronounced “sah-kay.”

13 Responses to “Pet Peeve #15: Unnecessarily Using Foreign Words”

  1. Ariel says:

    foreign words are ALWAYS necessary

  2. Anne Riley says:

    Oh, Jamey, you are funny. My biggest language pet peeve is when someone demands that I speak Spanish for no reason. I know this girl who went on exchange to Spain (which I did too, a couple years before her) and when she got back here, every time we were at a party, dinner, what have you, she would insist that we speak Spanish to each other. This bugged me because I think two people whose first languages are English should ONLY SPEAK ENGLISH TO EACH OTHER. If her first language was Spanish, then maybe… maybe. Man, that really got on my nerves something fierce.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Oh, I totally know people like that too. Some of my friends used to throw in Japanese words/sentences when we’re in front of people who don’t speak the language, just for the sheer novelty and exclusiveness of it. I really don’t like that–I like to be inclusive in almost all things. The only time I like it is if we’re at a restaurant (only me and the other Japanese-speaking friend) and want to talk about someone nearby–knowing a rare language helps in those situations.

  3. if there are a group of people more juvenile than prepubescents, it’s graduate students. they are, in fact, the worst when it comes to this kind of thing.

  4. Josey says:

    Je peux parler en français parce que j’ai vĂ©cu lĂ -bas, mais oui, c’est bizarre quand je rencontre AmĂ©ricains qui exige que je leur parle français!

    Basically, yeah, if you’re going to do it, do it right…and it’s bizarre to me as well that people demand I speak French with them when they realize we’re both fluent. If we were in France, yep, sure. But at the White Horse Saloon? No thanks.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      First, I’m glad you speak in complete sentences. Second, you have a saloon in your town?! Awesome!

      • Josey says:

        Heck yeah. I used to bartend there, and one of the requirements was that you could sing karaoke while bartending on Friday nights. It’s a classy place. 🙂

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          Awesome! I’ve always wanted to go to a saloon. Especially one with the swinging wooden doors when you walk in.

  5. Dionne says:

    Well I hate to break it to you, but if you visit San Antonio we speak Spanglish often and our vernacular is peppered with such examples as you mentioned above.

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