Humor of Frenglish by Mark Twain

Humor of Frenglish by Mark Twain:

Frenglish means a mangled combination of French and English.

Frenglish may be produced by poor knowledge of one or the other language.

Frenglish usually consists of filling gaps in one's knowledge of French with English words.

Or Frenglish may be used deliberately for humorous effect.


Mark Twain, the 19th century American humor writer in his book Innocents Abroad included the following letter to a Parisian landlord.

(To get the humor of the following Frenglish by Mark Twain, you need to understand both English and French.)


PARIS, le 7 Juillet.

Monsieur le Landlord--Sir:

Pourquoi don't you mettez some savon in your bed-chambers?

Est-ce que vous pensez I will steal it?

La nuit passee you charged me pour deux chandelles when I only had one;

hier vous avez charged me avec glace when I had none at all;

tout les jours you are coming some fresh game or other on me, mais vous ne pouvez pas play this savon dodge on me twice.

Savon is a necessary de la vie to any body but a Frenchman,

et je l'aurai hors de cet hotel or make trouble.

You hear me.


I remonstrated against the sending of this note, because it was so mixed up that the landlord would never be able to make head or tail of it; but Blucher said he guessed the old man could read the French of it and average the rest.


For more Mark Twain humor about the lack of soap in Europe go to the web page ‘Humor of Soap in Italy’.

Humor of Soap in Italy in 1869.


Return to Humor of Language Learners.


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