Spanish cow

Le coq galois. Picture source:

Ce matin
Une vache espagnole
Me réveilla.
Pendant des années
Elle m’a réveillé
En me parlant anglais.
Ce matin
Elle me réveilla
En me disant << tu causes bien la France >>.
Un de ces quatre
Un coq me réveillera
En me disant << lève-toi con, enfin t’es prêt à débuter >>.

parler français comme une vache espagnole: to speak broken French.  Literally: “to speak French like a Spanish cow.”

causer bien la France: “to speak French proper-like.”  Sarcastic.

le coq: rooster.  The important point: you pronounce the q.  

English notes

to speak broken [language name]: to not speak [language name] well.  Scroll down for examples.

The joke here is that this idiot has mis-spelled “official.” America does not have an official language, and I hope we keep it that way–it’s not like we need one.  Picture source:
The point: if you’re an American, then the guy speaking broken English probably speaks one language more than you do. Picture:
This fool has mis-spelled “our.” Not an example of how to use “to speak broken English”–I just couldn’t pass up a chance to mock the “Official English” folks. Picture source:
Sorry–once I start thinking about the “Official English” idiots, I can get a little wound up. If you’re not a North American: Cherokee is one of the big Native American languages. Picture source:

18 thoughts on “Spanish cow”

  1. I have a good friend (Puerto Rican by birth) who runs a programme to help the poorest families in New England. Immigrants. Mostly hispanic. Mostly illegal. We met recently and he commented on how futile it is to talk of teaching English as a Foreign language to people whose likely first language is not even Spanish (they speak a bit of broken Spanish) but a dialect unique to the place they came from desperate to find Eldorado or at least a place where they are not in fear of their lives through violence, filth and starvation. He commented that the average age of education of these adults is Second Grade. He commented that we need to speak without language before we judge a man or woman for not speaking ours fluently. He would say bravo to you for this piece and I join him.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I occasionally do what’s known as “double interpretation”–I translate from English into Spanish for someone who then translates from Spanish into one of the indigenous languages of Guatemala; then they translate from the indigenous language into Spanish, and I translate from Spanish to English. Fun! I wrote a little thing about it here:

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Man, where did you hear that ” causer bien la France” from ? Québec ? Suburbs dwelled by immigrants ? I swear you I never heard that, and I moved quite a lot for a long time .
        Bravo for venturing more and more into the territories of colloquial periphrases . There is not one error in your text . I think a French rooster from the south will say ” Petit con” rather . You’ll see .
        And bravo for your accurate use of the two past tenses, although if we use at different places the 3 past tenses including the imparfait we may carry different nuances . That’s what I like in complex languages, we can transmit more informations without the need of our face expressions or meaningful gestures as we do if we have no other possibilities .
        About your regular hearing of a rooster talking to you, maybe you could make a pause with what you take . 😉

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I had too but reverse, with different native Mexican people . Remember a venerable and loveful old curandero who healed me while his son was translating into Spanish for me . The old medicine man only spoke his pagan dialect . (Makes you wonder what those missionaries did with all the dough ) .

        Liked by 2 people

    1. You know, it seems only Anglophones can settle in France for years without learning the language . I remember Spaniards, Poles, Germans, South-East Asia, India, South-America and of course Arab countries, and everyone spoke more every year . Some neuroscientific investigations in English speaking formatted brains would be worthy for a greater knowledge about the physical link between Man, environment and speaking abilities .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s the English culture and attitude; the innate sense of superiority and entitlement. They go for the wine and the laid back culture and the cheap property with no intention of integrating.
        Please don’t think we fall into that camp! Anyway, I’m half Welsh…..

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I love being reminded of the expression “parler comme un vache espagnole” – hadn’t heard it in eons. Anyway, with Anglos, it’s often the accent that makes it “cow-like”, but they’re in good company. I haven’t bothered to listen, but apparently the future First Lady of the US has a pretty heavy accent in English 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. > bravo for your accurate use of the two past tenses

    Thanks! I thought about your comments the last time that I tried to write something in the past tense in French, and realized that I thought that if I were using the passé simple, I shouldn’t use the imparfait. This time I tried to use each one where it belonged.


  3. Imparfait and passé simple can be used together, the thing is each one at the right time to express what we want . “Il arriva pendant pendant que je travaillais” is basic for instance, just now people will say “Il est arrivé pendant que je travaillais” . Passés simple and composé are nearly interchangeable but not imparfait .
    And about the different nuances conveyed by our choice of past tenses, let’s take your sentence “Pendant des années elle m’a réveillé en parlant anglais” .
    First, in an elegant writing, people will say “Pendant des années, elle me réveilla … ” Here the meaning is exactly the same, just the level of language is higher .

    But you could have said :”Depuis des années, elle me réveillait … et ce matin elle me réveilla…”. The fundamental infos are the same but the use of imparfait here shows that the speaker gives importance to the long duration and a sort of innocuous habit . If you say as you did “Pendant des années, elle me réveilla (or m’a réveillé)… et ce matin elle me réveilla (again or m’a réveillé)…”, here the habit is considered as an endless succession of individal mornings, one after the other, and if the speaker wants to show he became really fed up , that’s how he will talk .

    If you think all these considerations don’t suit this place let me know please . Hoping that pedantry doesn’t piss you off more than informations please you …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the way the Swiss do it: three official languages (German, French and Italian), along with various regional dialects and variations, and an unofficial fourth: English. Though not everyone is fluent, it’s like the lowest common denominator that enables communication among people of diverse origins, and I speak it very humbly when in the non-French parts. There is also a tolerance for any language spoken to go to the level of the other person, the effort appreciated for what it represents; the flip-side is that the level of language spoken (ie French) is often not as high as in France, for example. But, oh, how refreshing to speak fractured French and not be judged! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, you forgot the fourth official Swiss language which is Romansh. I remember my cousin’s can of army ammunition (all adult Swiss males had their army gear at home in case of invasion – not sure if they still do… ): the label was in all four languages.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right you are Béa! Thanks for calling me out on that one. The silly thing is that I sort of knew about the Romansh language, but was too mentally lazy to look it up and confirm the details. At the same time I am rather pleased that my blog has readers like you who keep me on my toes!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Curative Power of Medical Data

JCDL 2020 Workshop on Biomedical Natural Language Processing


Criminal Curiosities


Biomedical natural language processing

Mostly Mammoths

but other things that fascinate me, too


Adventures in natural history collections

Our French Oasis


ACL 2017

PC Chairs Blog

Abby Mullen

A site about history and life

EFL Notes

Random commentary on teaching English as a foreign language

Natural Language Processing

Université Paris-Centrale, Spring 2017

Speak Out in Spanish!

living and loving language




Exploring and venting about quantitative issues

%d bloggers like this: