The Euros are well and truly underway now – every team in each group has played, and there’s been much talk about “Who’s going to be the Leicester of the tournament?”
There are a few contenders – the most recent being Iceland, who claimed a surprise 1-1 draw against the Portuguese on Tuesday.
But even more alarming is the fact that the Iceland fans may be about to push Ireland off the “best fans in Europe” pedestal, an accolade we humbly (and a bit stumbly) received during Euro 2012.
It is believed that around 8% of Iceland’s 332,000 population has travelled to France to support Iceland in their first ever major tournament.
And they are having some serious craic while they are there, with their perfectly-timed chanting and invoking of the Norse Viking gods as they roam the streets.
Great and all as that is, we can’t be having them taking away our raison d’etre – our reputation as the World’s Best Fans!
So in order for us to shimmy back into favour with the championship hosts and to ensure that we retain our 2012 award, I’ve devised a plan.
In today’s Europolitan world, it has become more and more acceptable (and expected) that people in non-English speaking countries speak English. And we Irish have certainly embraced that, with most of us making little-to-no effort to speak the local lingo of the many countries we visit.
So what better way to return to favour and ingratiate ourselves with the native lads than to charm them in their own tongue?
To get you started, here are a few choice phrases (and their perfectly translated counterparts*) that will come in handy for the coming days and weeks as you work on your farmer’s tan and beer belly in the “banlieue” (see, I’ve started already) of Paris and the other major French cities.
- Come on Ireland – Allez Irland
No surprises here – this will start you on a solid foundation, and can be shouted and hollered at pretty much an opportunity without hesitation
- Don’t take any notice of him, sure he’s from Tipp – Ne fais pas attention à lui. Il est Tipp-ais
Say this often – everyone should be aware when you’re in the company of someone from Tipp, lest they tar you all with the same brush.
- You’re the best barman I’ve ever met Jean-Pierre. When we win the Euros, you’ll have to come and stay with myself, the wife and 4 kids in our 3-bed semi. Sure they’ll love it ! Here’s my address….
Tu est let meilleur serveur dans tout de France Jean-Pierre. Quand nous gangons l’Euros, tu peux rester avec moi, ma femme et les 4 enfants. Ils t’aimeront! Voici mes coordenees…
You will have no recollection of having said this until, a few months later, Jean-Pierre arrives at your door with a suitcase and the inside of a tattered matchbox with your address on it.
- Kick-off is 7 here. So that’s 6 at home … Or is it 8? Le coup d’envoi est à 19h ici. Alors, c’est 18h chez nous. Ou, 20h?
Sure we can never get this one right. Hour ahead? Hour behind? Who cares!
- I can’t believe we’re in France and the weather is better at home! – Je ne cois pas que je suis en France, mais il fait meilleur chez nous!
No matter where we are, we have to talk about the weather…
- (While not wearing your jersey) What do you mean are we English? Do I SOUND English? – Que veux-tu dire, nous sommes Anglais? Est-que j’ai L’AIR anglais?
HOW the HELL could anyone think that a group of fair-haired, pale and slightly sunburnt bunch of lads SPEAKING ENGLISH in a foreign country are ENGLISH? They’ve cheek enough for two arses…
- Terry Henry – Thierry Henry
- (… can be followed by “is still a *****” – “il reste un connard”)
Need I say more?
- Je parle un petit pois de France – Je parle un peu francais
Nobody needs to know that you speak a little pea of France
- What do you mean you never heard of a pint? – Que vuex-tu dire, que tu n’avais jamais entendu parler de “a pint”?
Those tiny beer glasses they give you on the continent are no more than a mouthful!
- (Handing phone to a random French stranger on the street) “Here, that’s my wife. Will you talk to her?” – Oh mon dieu, c’est ma femme. Parle-lui?
I think that should be sufficient for you to dip your toe in the vast vocabularic waters of the beautiful and poetic French language. Keep up the practice and before you know it you’ll starting to sound like a local.
(*translations were done using a dialect from a little-known region of south-eastern France called Yelionaise, which is enchantinly twinned with Youghal in Co. Cork. So some phrases may be slightly (or massively) different to the standard French, also known as le francais normé. So no complaints or pedantry please).