Humor of French I Love You

Humor of French I Love You is a classic misunderstanding of French that became a comic routine of a young American couple for their own amusement.

A young American couple studying French together like to say “I love you” in French, because they love the way it sounds in French.

“Je t’adore!” -- pronounced [zhuh tah-DOHR] -- means ‘I love you!’ in French.

One would embrace the other and tenderly say,

“I love you -- Je t’adore! -- Je t’adore! -- Je t’adore!”

But this young couple enjoyed every occasional opportunity to turn this into a joke they never ceased to enjoy.

One would embrace the other and say only a little less tenderly,

“I love you -- Shut the door! -- Shut the door! -- Shut the door!”

They would do this whenever one of them accidentally left a door open.

Because “Je t’adore!” -- pronounced [zhuh tah-DOHR] -- means ‘I love you!’ in French -- but to an English-speaker it can sound like ‘Shut the door!’

This was even turned into a beer commercial, with the punch line:

“You shut the door!”

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They began to collect other examples of French that sounds somewhat like something else in English:

"À votre santé!" -- pronounced [ah VOH-truh sahng-TAY] -- is a drinking toast that means ‘To your health!’ in French -- but to an English-speaker it can sound like ‘A vote for Santa!’

(from the novel Spook Country by William Gibson)

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