Sorry for your English

<Photo of English graffiti in France - in St Jean de Sixt>French graffiti is just like English graffiti, with references to romance, sex and smoking drugs seeming to be just as popular here as they are in English-speaking countries.

Most of the graffiti is in French, and sometimes I can figure out the slang. Less common is graffiti in English, but here in St Jean de Sixt, there’s a big wall with equally large letters in English sprayed on it. I guess the writer is proud that he or she can speak (and spell) in English: it’s certainly not as common here as in other parts of France. In fact, seeing graffiti in English made me happy. That might sound smug, but it’s not. A few years ago, one of the nearby schools stopped their English classes because the teacher left. They used the budget on computers rather than a replacement English teacher. That was, however, probably for the best, as the one who left had taught the kids to sing “If you’re appy and you know it clap your ands“.

Every time I pass this graffiti, I think of that scene in ‘The Life of Brian’ where the Roman soldier corrects Brian’s Latin graffiti. It’s tempting to take a red can of spray paint and cross out ‘for’ and write ‘about’ — unless, of course, the graffiti writer really does feel sorry for this wall (despite the ‘HAHA’).

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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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One comment on “Sorry for your English
  1. Mandy says:

    Heh, I love moments like this that are lost in translation. We often speak Afrikaans in London in the hopes that those around us won’t understand. That has backfired spectacularly on occasion. There are more South Africans in London that we realise.

About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced professional writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Read more...

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