Everything Sounds Sexier in French
"I'm too sexy for this shirt".note
"Château Haut-Brion 1959, magnificent wine, I love French wine, like I love the French language. I have sampled every language, French is my favorite — fantastic language, especially to curse with.
Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperies de connard d'enculé de ta mère. It's like wiping your arse with silk, I love it."Translation
Notice how things take on an entirely different slant when you say them in a foreign language ?
The following languages hold the following stereotypes:
Spanish and Italian: Both sound Hotter and Sexier
(See the Latin Lover
trope for why) and exotic.
French: French sounds sexy and romantic, cultured and philosophical, or (in Europe) guttural and pretentious.
English: English sounds sophisticated and aristocratic
...unless it's not RP (Northern, American, etc), in which case it's hearty and quite possibly "cool," but uncouth, or at least unsophisticated.
Japanese: Japanese usually sounds polite
Greek: Greek sounds science-y: Techno Babble
and Science Fiction
German: German is the Black Speech
, provided it's not spoken
in the gentle tones of native speakers. Sounds Camp
, angry, technical/precise
, or evil
Latin: Latin sounds pretentious
This is of course subject to Values Dissonance
, as the French don't necessarily think their language sounds the sexiest. Their dubs go to Italian for this and they usually perceive their own accent as horrible.
May overlap with Gratuitous French
if there really is no reason for it to be in French. Compare Gratuitous Foreign Language
, As Long as It Sounds Foreign
, British Accents
. See also Everyone Looks Sexier If French
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- A Dunkin' Donut commercial is a Take That to this trend, where befuddled would-be customers of what's obviously Starbucks walk out of the line because they can't speak "Fritalian".
- An advertisement for New Zealand language month features a couple talking to each other in sultry French. The subtitles revealed there was something wrong with their car, and ended with "I dunno. I'm not a bloody mechanic."
- Some commercial exists with the premise: "French things are better", and the following examples: French kiss vs. regular kiss, French maid vs. regular maid, etc. See here.
- A lot of adverts for fragrances come with a French voiceover and a French name. Only in French could toilet water (eau de toilette) sound sexy. It meant "preparation for the day" (like when you'd put on fragrance) before it meant the potty. "Water for your morning routine" doesn't have that same sexy zing to it, does it?
- Heard many a year ago while driving via , a nearly word-for-word instance in a radio PSA featuring a cute Quebecois girl: "short summary of some reasons to recycle, in French - See? Even recycling sounds sehksee in French."
- A 2008-2009 commercial for McDonalds McCafé showed how much perkier ordinary tasks were when you said them with a French accent. A "chore" may be boring, but put an accent over that final (nominally silent) e and you get "choré" (cho-RAY), which just sounds sexier.
- A fake ad, but one of the pitch ads on The Gruen Transfer used the classiness of the French language to sell urine.
- An Irish Carlsberg advert shows two guys told to "do something Irish" by a foreign bartender before they can get their beer. Hilarity Ensues when one decides to spout off all the random simple sentences as gaeilge he can remember from school and his friend claims the gibberish is a famous poem. It makes them very popular with the ladies.
Irish guy: "Tabhair dom an cáca milis!" ("Give me cake!")
Everyone else: (reverently, in hushed tones) "Caca milis..."
- Stella Artois like to play up their beer's supposed sophistication by using French and making Le Film Artistique adverts. They even managed to make cider sound classy just by calling it "cidre".note
Animés et Mangas
- Want to see this trope in action? Go to YouTube and search any song in the Disney Animated Canon in another language and then compare it to your native one. Compare French!"Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" and German!"Be Prepared" to their English variants.
- Compare "The Greatest Criminal Mind" from The Great Mouse Detective in English, French and German. French sounds more romantic, German sounds more evil. The Lyrics between English and French are much closer than in The Lion King. Though the French version has even darker lyrics, with the goons mentioning how Ratigan is bloody and brutal, and how he's God's worst creature.
- This may be a common thing with French dubs of Disney movies; the French lyrics for Hellfire, the Villain Song in Hunchback of Notre Dame, are significantly darker than the English ones. And with this song, that's saying something.
- The French version of the song "Prince Ali" from Aladdin has a hilarious Getting Crap Past the Radar moment: the Genie spouts the line "Il y a du monde au balcon!" (roughly "there's quite some people at the balcony") just as we see three well-endowed girls swooning over Al on a balcony. And that expression is also an "elegant" way of saying that a woman has, erm, large... tracts of land.
- Toy Story 3 has Buzz Lightyear's in Spanish Mode.
Cinéma en Prise de Vue Réelle
- Le Divorce is named in reference to this trope. Though the person doing the preview's voiceover apparently couldn't be bothered to learn the proper French pronunciation, saying the first word as "lay" (which would be how one would pronounce "les", the plural article) rather than the proper "luh" (or close to it).
- A Fish Called Wanda:
- Wanda is turned on when Otto says anything in exotic-sounding Italian. Otto just knows scattered words and phrases in Italian.
- Later Wanda discovers that she's far more turned on by Archie's Russian, though Russian is seldom seen as a sexy language. Archie is actually fluent in Russian.
- Averted when Kevin Kline asked for Otto's dialog to be changed to French because he (Kline) actually knows the language. John Cleese refused.
- Everything Julie Delpy says as titular character of Killing Zoe. It's all either sexy French, or sexy French-accented English.
- In The Matrix Reloaded, the Merovingian states:
"Château Haut-Brion 1959, magnificent wine, I love French wine, like I love the French language. I have sampled every language, French is my favorite — fantastic language, especially to curse with. Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperies de connards d'enculé de ta mère. It's like wiping your arse with silk, I love it."
- The Merovingian's curse translates to (Explicit Rudeness Warning): "In the name of God of whore of a brothel of shit of bullshits of dumbass of sodomized of your mom". It's a common practice in French to tie insults and profanities together with the word "de" (meaning "of" or "from"). Rather than make literal sense, the goal is to construct the longest string of non-repeating insults that can be managed with one's current state of displeasure. You can, ironically, come up with some pretty epic levels of cursing in French.
- played with in Monty Python's Holy Grail, by the absurd insults spoken by the French knights defending the castle
- The main plot of the Swedish movie Ciao Bella is that the protagonist, Iranian born Mustafa, is pretending to be an Italian so he can finally score with the girls.
- Forbidden Zone: Frenchy Hercules. On the surface, a chick who walks around in a bathrobe, with too much make up. But now make her French.
- Discussed in Woody Allen's Bananas when Woody is in bed with his new girlfriend.
Woody: I love you, I love you.
Woman: Oh, say it in French! Please, say it in French!
Woody: I don't know French.
Woman: Oh please... please!
Woody: What about Hebrew?
- In Police Academy, George Martin, third generation American, pretends to be Hispanic to get girls. It works.
- Used and parodied in Love Actually where Collin was certain that his British accent would make him attractive to American girls, despite his friend's misgivings. Collin was right and at the first bar he goes to, he meets three lovely American girls all very interested in him and he ended up with a gorgeous girl with a Texan drawl.
- Deployed for comedy in the Canadian film Bon Cop, Bad Cop. A man in bed with a woman uses schoolroom French drills to great effect: "Jean-Paul et Nicole aller à l'école!"Translation "Again!" As the woman orgasm, she screams "Vive le Québec libre", which is a famous phrase meaning "Long live freenote Quebec!" pronounced by former French President's Charles De Gaulle.
- Played for Laughs in the movie Dinner for Schmucks, when the "idiot" Barry meets a multibillionaire Swedish industrialist, he says excitedly "I know Swedish!" then begins imitating the Swedish chef to said industrialist.
"De bork bork bork, now I flip-a the pancakes."
- Played straight in French Cancan: showman Danglard has a brainstorm to revive the then-passé couple's dance known as the cancan and turn it into a highly-choreographed extravaganza. He also decides to name the revised dance the French cancan to appeal to non-French audiences.
- The Addams Family:
- The French language has an aphrodisiac effect on Gomez Addams, no matter who (or what) said it:
Gomez: Why Morticia, that's French!
Gomez: Why Fester, that's French!
Gomez: Why Gomez, that's French! And me with no-one to kiss!
- Although one time, she had to "C'est la vie" twice for the effect to take.
- On Occasion, Morticia would say something in a different language, and immediately gets Gomez all over her (but again It's Morticia).
- There's nothing in this world that's sexier then listening to NCIS when Ziva's showing off her incredible amount of languages, especially Hebrew. Ohhhh...
- Played for laughs in The IT Crowd when Roy drops a date off at her house. He describes it as 'La maison de la femme', 'el casa de la senorita' and finally as 'das Haus der Frau' in a loud, harsh voice, illustrating that German is not generally considered a sexy-sounding language, unlike French and Spanish.
- Detective Kate Beckett reveals she can speak Russian. That accent is very, very hot. Emphasised by the fact that all she's wearing is red lingerie and a black jacket.
- Ioan Gruffudd guest-starred as Eric Vaughn, a dashing inventor and a big celebrity in "The Squab and the Quill". He's Famed In-Story and both Beckett and the coroner have a Celeb Crush on him. They briefly gush about his handsomeness, hotness, being rich, and his British accent.
- Spoofed in the Irish Soap Opera Fair City. A man says something mundane in Gaelic and his Russian wife finds it incredibly erotic, and asks him to say more. He says a few phrases that all Irish people remember from school, no matter how poorly they did.
Leo: An bhfuil cead agam dul go dtí an leithiris.
Translation: Can I go to the toilet?
- In the TV show My Family Roger finds out his girlfriend finds foreign languages sexy, he proceeds to woo her in Welsh! Sadly he only knows a few phrases from when he worked in a tourist information centre. Alfie then tells her that he isn't really saying anything romantic and talks to her in welsh with some romantic phrases. They don't have any effect on her though and she just goes back to listening to Roger.
- In one episode of The Wonder Years, 8th grader Kevin Arnold has a daydream in French class. In his dream, his crush speaks sexy French to him, and Kevin responds each time with the only French phrase he knows: "Would you like some butter?" Both sides of the conversation would sound equally romantic if they weren't subtitled, though!
- Mentioned in Scrubs where Elliot demonstrated the many ways she can speak German from cute to scary.
J.D.: You speak German?
Elliot: Yeah! I can do a sweet little milkmaid: "Guten Morgen... möchten sie die Kühe melken?" I can do an evil old hausfrau: "ISS DEIN SCHNITZEL, SONST KRIEGST DU KEIN NACHTISCH!"
J.D.: German's such a beautiful language...
- Meaning of those two sentences: "Good morning... do you want to milk the cows?" and "EAT YOUR SCHNITZEL, OR NO DESSERT FOR YOU!" respectively.
- Spoofed in Frasier, in which Roz is dating a Frenchman despite not actually speaking French, and so enlists Frasier, who does, to help her dump him. It soon transpires that the Frenchman — who doesn't speak English himself — was actually planning on dumping her himself, and he and Frasier ultimately end up discussing where a good place in Seattle to get a steak is. Roz, of course, thinks that he's saying something immensely touching and romantic.
- In My Name Is Earl, Catalina sometimes speaks bursts of Spanish, sounding as if she's insulting people — but what she's actually saying are things like "Thank you to the Spanish-speaking audience for watching this show" (obviously breaking the Fourth Wall.)
- In CSI: New York, Flack finds Angell speaking French very sexy.
- Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps
- There's an episode where Janet reads a love letter from her ex, the decidedly English Andy. When she reads it, the voiceover is Andy's accent. When Janet's suspicious boyfriend Jonny reads it, the voiceover is a French accent.
- Another episode has Janet attempt to make a romantic meal out of common food and drink by giving the names in faux-French (for example, "can of lager" becomes "beer a la can").
- Would-be yuppie Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses is in the habit of throwing French words into his sentences even though he doesn't know what they mean. A full list can be found here.
- Flight of the Conchords Foux de Fa Fa fa fa-ah
- An episode of Heroes required Mohinder to speak French. This decision was very much appreciated by certain segments of the fandom, and prompted countless retreats to countless bunks.
- In one episode of Red Dwarf, Lister enters a King Arthur VR simulation, equipped with a book of cheats, and attempts to seduce queen Guinevere. When he hears she speaks with a French accent, he comments:
Lister: I just love that accent! Rawr!
- A variation from an episode of Mash:
Winchester: This could be pleasant, dining al fresco.
Houlihan: "Picnic" sounds sexy in French.
Winchester: That's Italian.
Houlihan: That's even better!
- When Carter learns that Allison speaks Dutch in the third season of Eureka, he's momentarily stunned and distracted.
- Subverted in Time Gentlemen Please:
Marcel: But do you not find my accent, how you say, sexy?
Connie: No, how you say, you prat!
- In an episode of Designing Women, Julia has been taking a cooking class. When Charlene asks her what she made, she rattles of something very fancy sounding. When Charlene says is sounds good, she says "Thanks, it's macaroni and cheese, it just tastes better in French."
- A similar scenario on an episode of A Different World had Whitley offering to make Dwayne's mother something to eat. She used the French term, but after describing it, Dwayne's mother said, "that's just a good old-fashioned ham and cheese sandwich".
- An episode of Walker, Texas Ranger had the guys picking up their tuxedos for Walker's wedding. After one of the guys complements the tailor on his skills and asks if he learned them in Italy (where he claims to be from), an amused Walker reveals that the man's name is something wholly dull and American and that he learned his skills in prison. Upon being released and determined to turn his life around, the man opened a store and used the Italian translation of his name, correctly surmising that this would make people flock to his store.
- Subverted the crap out of in the All That skit French with Pierre Escargot, who spoke completly Cloud Cuckoo Lander French. For example: Please remove your banjo from my bellybutton!
- During one exchange in Criminal Minds between Derek Morgan and Penelope Garcia, Garcia signs off in French, to which Morgan tells her that it "drives (him) crazy with (her) French talk."
- In one episode of How I Met Your Mother, Robin has a dinner date with a British doctor. She decides not to shave her legs as it would force her to behave and not have sex right away on their first date. However, he's really hot, and a doctor, and with British accent. This combination proves lethally charming and Robin spends her date trying to shave her legs.
- The Big Bang Theory:
- Penny's new friend from her college class is British, and it freaks Leonard (her boyfriend) out to no ends. They discuss the trope and Penny tries to argue that British accent is not necessarily the sexiest, trying to calm him down, but ultimately she concludes that British accent is indeed the best for guys to have.
- When Rajesh's sister first showed up, the guys talked about how her Indian accent is sexy. Raj was uncomfortable with anyone of them trying to hit on her and said that she spoke exactly like he did.
- Horatio Hornblower:
- In "The Frogs and the Lobsters", there is Mariette the peasant-girl-turned-school-teacher whose English is tinged with French, which is supposed to be appealing. She and Horatio have almost a thing together, though not quite because he's too innocent and she's too vapid. It's not explained in-universe how she mastered the English language.
- Senora Ortega speaks English, but when she tries to seduce an unfortunate soldier who guarded the imprisoned Spanish ladies, she chooses to speak Spanish, a language the soldier doesn't understand. It worked on him.
- Mad Men reveals that Megan, who's French-Canadian, managed to get the most tips when she worked as a waitress because she knew how to work the accent. Later, her idea of a birthday present for Don is a performance of "Zou Bisou Bisou" using her native accent.
- Averted, possibly defied, on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Jean-Luc Picard is, at times, ostentatiously French, but other than occasional breaks into French (e.g. French curse words), he always speaks with impeccable British accent. Supposedly, Patrick Stewart did so deliberately so that he would not sound like an Inspector Clouseau in space.
- An episode of The Muppet Show featured a guest, French singer Charles Aznavour (Char Aznable's namesake), who demonstrated to Kermit how easy it is to seduce women by saying anything, anything in French to them.
Kermit: Wow, what did you just say? (meanwhile, Piggy is swooning)
Charles: I said, "Your oil filter has a leak and your transmission is sagging." — Now watch this, I'm going to tell her the phone number of the Paris garbage dump.
- Kenny Everett's character Marcel Wave was a Gallic charmer with an overinflated ego. On one occasion he pronounced "EEC" as "Ehh! Ehh! Sehhh!" and commented that "Ze French letters are so much more exciting."
- The National Lampoon radio show/lp records had a mock ad for the Indianapolis Academy of the French Accent, promising a better life from speaking in a sexy cool accent.
Jeux de Plateau
- The 7th Sea RPG has various knacks and Advantages that influence a character's social ability, one of which is "Dangerous Beauty." One of the accents found in Montaigne (an Expy of Louis-XIV-era France) grants Dangerous Beauty for free, because that accent is just so alluring.
- Bretonnia in Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Oh, Bretonnia!
- In Peer Gynt, Henrik Ibsen has a quartet of characters representing national stereotypes of the English, German, French and Swedish. When the Frenchman makes a comment in his native tongue, the German comments (Ibsen being sarcastic), "Oh! French is such a stiff language."
- The finale of the 10th anniversary concert for Les Misérables. Compare the performances of all seventeen singers, all singing lines from the same song.
- In The Curse of Monkey Island, we have a few instances where something is referred to in Spanish to make it seem cool and dangerous, such as El Pollo Diablo ("The Devil Chicken"). To further drive home the fact, you have four conversation choices in a dialogue on the subject: "What?", pretending to be El Pollo Diablo, and the translations in Spanish of the first two options.
- There's also an option to have Guybrush say "ouch!" in a (fictional) foreign language — "Papapichu!" — every time he gets hurt.
- Guess what language the most academically, mentally, and physically developed female character in Persona 3 (and Expansion Pack FES), Mitsuru Kirijo, knows (and occasionally drops a line in)? (This is an example of Keep It Foreign: in the Japanese, she's using Gratuitous English.)
- Een certain adaptacions de Soneec Ze 'Edge'og, "Ro-becca", ze titular robot ees absolutament, 'ow you say, crazy for Antoine... until 'e does ees best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression, repulsing her. Soneec zen unintentionally attracts 'er attention wiz a leettle French of ees own...
- This even applies to names as well. In Sonic Adventure 2, Rouge the Bat has been considered to have a sexy name to compliment her attractive appearance. Given that Rouge is the French word for red, this trope definitely applies.
- Backyard Sports: "Soy Pablo. ¿Quieres jugar?" But he really speaks English.
- Dawn of War : Check the difference between English-voiced Chaos Space Marines (For the unfamiliar with W H40k, they're the bad guys) and German-voiced Chaos Space Marines here. Notice something ?
- Team Fortress 2. The Spy's vaguely French accent, plus the RED Spy's canonical relationship with the BLU Scout's mother, has raised the Spy to Memetic Molester / Memetic Sex God levels.
- During Hideo Kojima's self-deprecating talk to the Game Development Conference in 2009 about Metal Gear and the things each installment accomplished as a piece of game design, he lampshaded this when showing clips of Metal Gear Solid in the languages it was dubbed into. He showed the opening conversation between Snake and the Colonel in various languages, saying after each one how it made him crave an appropriate Regional Speciality (hamburgers, German sausage, paella...), except for the French dub, which he said "just sounds romantic".
- In the X-rated MMORPG Red Light Center, the automatic female sex responses in English have a noticeable French accent. This is not a bad thing. At all.
- Leliana in Dragon Age: Origins is from Orlais, where everyone speaks with French accents. She's also the resident bard and sports red hair, probably a necessary combination for her to compete with Morrigan.
- Night Trap has Mr. Martin, who tries to come off as a charming gentleman.
- In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days Larxene's weapons all have French names.
- Waka in Ōkami speaks with a French Funetik Aksent, even though the game doesn't have any recorded voices.
- Yuuya of Hatoful Boyfriend likes to start every conversation with "Salut!" (Salutations, in the official English translation), ends it with "Adieu!", and calls the protagonist "Mon amie". He lived in France for a while, but it seems to be an affectation, since in a bad moment he swears in Japanese (or translated English).
Animation sur Internet
- A Homestar Runner Halloween toon has a potion that turns Homestar French, whereupon he instantaneously seduces a delighted Marzipan. "A-say, Mahzipan, let us away to mah romantic chateau in ze Fantastique Mountahns!"
Bandes Dessinées En Ligne
- Used in Benzaie's "Working at Channel Awesome" sitcom, where what he's saying both is and sounds violent... but it's in French, so at least one of the girls still swoons over it. His entire character seems to be based on this.
- Averted by the Joueur du Grenier in The Legend Of Zelda C Di Games video, where he mentions one NPC's Parisian accent as a negative point (the Joueur is from Southern France).
- German version in Demo Reel. Carl Copenhagan has a foursome with some sexy cosplayers, and his advice to the other guy who wants in is to grow an accent.
- Inverted in Ilivais X. Mille Chanteau has a blatantly French name and happens to speak French, but she doesn't have an accent and hardly ever says anything in French. She gets around regardless.
- The One Semester of Spanish Love Song provides a hilarious parody of this trope as a man sings basic Spanish phrases in the form of a tender ballad.
- Parodied in this video comparing languages, which feature the same word spoken by five different languages, four of them sounding beautiful but the German one always sounding horrific.note
La Vraie Vie