Humor of Talkin Frenchy

Humor of Talkin’ Frenchy is adapted from an historical novel set in 1778 and titled Long Knife, by James Alexander Thom.

It describes the surrender of a French outpost in the Illinois country to a fighting force from Virginia and Kentucky.

One of the rough soldiers is speaking to his American leader, George Rogers Clark:


“Hey, George, I done learnt meself how t’talk Frenchy already.”

“Already?” George asked with a slow smile. “Tell me about it.”

“Well, it’s real easy, once y’ get the hang of it.

All y’ do is, now, y’talk way up in your nose...” He began a sonorous twangy tone and continued:

“’ jes’ ‘bout ever’ other word y’ hang an ‘ay’ or an ‘oh’ on it,

an’ y’ turn yer voice up like a question ever’ half-a-dozen words,

an’ that’s how y’ do it, George.”

George laughed. “So let me hear you speak some of this Frenchy of yours.”

“Messy bo-koo, mohn coh-loh-NEL! I am-ay at thees moh-MOHN speakin’-ay t’ you-OH een Frenchy-AY!

Coh-loh-NEL George-AY Rohjairs CLARK, you air wohn boh-DAY-shus coh-loh-NEL of wohn boh-DAY-shus ar-MEE!

There. D’you understand that all right?”

“I did, for a fact,” George grinned. “But do the French?”

“Sure, I reckon they do; they look at me like they did.

But then, I can’t understand their answers. I ain’t learnt meself t’ HEAR Frenchy yet, jes’ t’ talk it.”

“Ha, ha, ha! Len, you’re one bodacious linguist.


“Say! Y’ ain’t doin too bad at it yerself, George!

I dang nigh understood you thar fer a minute.”


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