From time to time, characters who want to be seen as très intelligentsnote add un peu de françaisnote to their speech, n'est-ce pas?note
This may be because of a certain... je ne sais quoi,note or because French is just—Quel est le mot juste?note —cool. And don't forget that French used to be the lingua francanote of the Western world, and still is a lingua franca in Africanote ; educated people would learn it to talk to other educated people, possibly about how uneducated everyone who didn't speak French was. Now that English has become the new universal language, the trope is often used to underscore the kind of pretentious bohemian character who lives in a world of their own and has no idea how reality works.
However, native French-speakers usually use English words for the same reason.
The linguistics blog Notes From A Linguistic Mystic has a name for this—Unnecessary French Syndrome.
Contrast Gratuitous English, which is used in France to sound, comme disent les anglais,note "cool". Interestingly, when Gratuitous English meets Keep It Foreign, Gratuitous French is a common substitute.
This is a subtrope of Gratuitous Foreign Language and really should be used with extreme care.
- Spongebob Squarepants is prone to this, though we never find out why. Also, the narrator of the show speaks not only in the same voice, but with a thick French accent.
- Cartoonito's UK feed had spots where one of their mascots would say something in English, and then another one of them said it in French, and sometimes, the mascot who said the word in English would ask the viewer if they could say what they said in French. And in addition, they also had an SAP audio track in French for some of their shows.
- The Simpsons loves to go about Frenchifying the characters' dialogue. Bart, for example, once described his mischief as being "Bartesque". When taking the family to see an artsy-fartsy French-Canadian circus, Lisa mentions that "We've had tickets since septembre!" (which, if you're curious, is pronounced something like "set-OM-brrr"). And Marge actually once said "Tres bien" after hearing a menu item described to her by a waiter - somewhat justified since she's in a fancy restaurant, and really justified when you remember that Marge's family (the Bouviers) are of French ancestry.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has this quite a bit.
- Fluttershy's rant about Rarity's dress in "Suited For Success" has her use the phrases prêt-à-porter and haute couture.
- The voice Pinkie Pie gives Madame LeFlour ("her" name itself an example) in "Party of One". "Oui! Zat eez correct, madame."
- Happens again in "The Cutie Pox" when Apple Bloom suddenly gets a Fleur de Lis cutie mark, causing her to speak French.
- Apple Bloom still speaks French in the French dub, just French from about 300 years ago.
Applejack: My sister's speakin' in Fancy!
- "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" has the Flim Flam Brothers refer to themselves as traveling salesponies nonpareils.
- More on the side of sophisticated but non-pretentious: In season 1 episode one Rarity exclaims:
Rarity: Oh my stars, darling! Whatever happened to your coiffure?!
- She also use "Crême de la crême" at least twice in the two first seasons.
- In "Sweet and Elite", a slender, top-model-like mare is shown along with Fancy Pants. She has a Fleur de Lys for cutie-mark.
- In "Magic Duel", The Great and Powerful Trixie show off her boastfullness:
TGAPT: Cheated? Moi?
- And her human counterpart does it as well in the Equestria Girls movie after getting some peanut butter crackers from a vending machine.
- Emily from Arthur loves to randomly sprinkle her sentences with French words. Most of the time, it's unnecessary.
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Clock King": The Clock King loves it: Adieu, En garde!, Au contraire...
- Napoleon Jones often speaks French in The Magic Adventures of Mumfie. There was even a whole episode about it.
- In the Gravity Falls episode "The Golf War", one of the Lilliputtians living in the Eiffel Tower hole at Ye Royal Discount Putt Hutt randomly shouts "Je ne sais quoi, sacre bleu, au revoir!"note This is even subtitled as "I don't actually know French."
- The Lingo Show has a character named Jargonaise who teaches children French the same way Dora the Explorer tries to teach children Spanish.
- In Young Justice, the French supervillain The Brain constantly inserts French words in the middle of comically accented English sentences, presumably because the producers couldn't figure out how to dress a Brain in a Jar in a beret and a black-and-white striped shirt. And where would he carry the loaf of French bread?
- The Latin-American Spanish dub of Wacky Races occasionally has "Pierre Nodoyuna" (Dick Dastardly) doing this.
- The speech of V.V. Argost, the big bad of The Secret Saturdays is often peppered with French. Case and point, his catchphrase, "greetings and bienvenue!" Which is said a lot.
- The Popeye cartoon "Shaving Muggs" has Popeye and Bluto getting shaved and trimmed to appease Olive Oyl. But after some double crosses, they see Olive strolling down the street with a heavily bearded fellow. As the boys proceed to kick each other in the ass:
Popeye: (targeting his ass to Bluto) Mon sieur Bluto...sil vous plait! (Bluto kicks him)
Bluto: (targeting his to Popeye) Sil vous plait! (Popeye kicks him; they trade kicks into the iris out)
- In the Ready Jet Go! episode Sunspots Sunspot", Celery says "Bon appetit, as the French Earthies say".
- The insert song that plays in the first episode of 3-gatsu no Lion while Rei is heading to the Sendagaya Shogi Hall for his match against his adoptive father is completely in French. Why Shaft chose a French song to play while the protagonist is walking through one of Tokyo's wards is not entirely clear, especially when the series as a whole is dedicated to a game whose popularity is almost entirely restricted within Japan.
- Tomo in Azumanga Daioh speaks French on occasion, such as when she described Osaka's yawn as "très bien".
- In addition, one of Kaorin's character songs is called "Kaze no Mon-Ami" ("my friend, the wind") and in Chiyo's song "Sarabai! Happy Hen" she greets the moon with a bonsoir.
- Much of the music Yoko Kanno provided for Cowboy Bebop is in a weird French-ish language of her own design. Notable tunes in that language include "Cats on Mars".
- The lyrics of the song "Fantaisie Sign", sung by Carla Vallet, are 100% French.
- An example from Daily Life with Monster Girl: one of Rachnera Arachnera's ImageSongs is titled Belle Sadique, meaning "Beautiful Sadist", a fitting description for the sexy arachne. It also counts for Everything Sounds Sexier in French.
- Di Gi Charat: So gratuitous, translators don't even realize it's meant to be French.
- Taki from Eyeshield 21 calls people "monsieur" for some reason.
- If you pause the player at the beginning of the fourth episode of The Familiar of Zero, you can read the letter to the principal. While it's not exactly bad French, the grammar is a bit off sometimes.
- The Five Star Stories features this when Lachesis' true form is revealed.
- In the English dub of the Fruits Basket anime, there is a line shouted by either Shigure or Ayame that sounds suspiciously like the French equivalent of "THE AIRPLANE! WHERE IS THE BATHTUB?" In the original Japanese, they shout "Je t'aime, mon amour! Bon voyage!" — "I love you, my love! have a nice trip!"
- The anime Gankutsuou has some French at the beginning of each episode. Justified as based on The Count of Monte Cristo, a French novel by Alexandre Dumas, that is mostly set in France.
- In GaoGaiGar FINAL, after literally burning Mikoto due to her overheating body, Rune Cardiff Shishioh just walks off saying "Nice to meet you" in French. "Bonjour. Merci. Comment allez-vous?" Hello. Thank you. How are you?" She also adds "Au Revoir" in Super Robot Wars W.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: France native Jean-Pierre Polnareff loves using these, especially if there's a lady around. It's a bit more common in the English dub.
- A Stand in Part 8 is known as "Les Feuilles" when officially translated; except its name is quite clearly the English phrase "Autumn Leaves".
- Kill la Kill: Setting aside the catch phrase "La vie est drôle," Harime Nui sprinkles French in her words a few times. One of her attacks is even in French: "Mon mignon prêt-à-porter"
- Arumi's father from Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi quite often uses this trope as he's a chief who specializes in French cuisine.
- Marginal Prince features Henri-Hugues de Saint Germain, Paris-born member of a French noble family. In an international boarding school surrounding where English is presumed to be the language of consent, he throws in some French here and there, most notably when drawing his tarot cards (which are in French, of course) or when commenting on other characters' behaviour. The latter makes him much a French Jerk, especially in Alfred's eyes.
- Maria-sama ga Miteru/Maria Watches Over Us is full of this. In the omake Yumi's seiyuu pronounces "(Rosa foetida) en bouton" better than Yoshino's, who "corrects" her, since she is supposed to be bilingual French-Japanese.
- In the anime adaptation of Maria the Virgin Witch, at least in the English dub, the dialogue is peppered with French all over the place, such as "oui" or "ne c'est pas?" The series takes place in France and the characters responsible are technically speaking French anyway. This is not done for the British characters.
- My Hero Academia: As part of his flamboyant personality, Yuga Aoyama (who is in no way actually French) tends to pepper his speech with French words. For instance, if he hears people talking about him, he'll often say "Are you talking about moi?"
- Everywhere in Oishii Kankei, since it's a manga focusing on French cuisine restaurants in Japan.
- One Piece:
- Sanji has Gratuitous French in his attack names (all of which are cuisine-based), though most of them were mangled in the 4Kids dub (but restored in the Funimation dub).
- Also, Mr. 2 Bon Clay.
- And Nico Robin, though it's only ever the one word, combined with healthy doses of Gratuitous Spanish and Gratuitous English
- Don't forget Franky. Coup de Boo!
- Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club is half-French, half-Japanese, and loves to say how Kyouya is "[son] ami!!!!" With the tonic accent on "a" instead of "mi". Caitlin Glass lampshaded in the commentary that the French speakers wouldn't have been very happy had the English dub kept that.
- Fantina from the Pokémon anime peppers her speech with French phrases in the English dub. In the original Japanese she peppers her speech with English instead.
- Cabernet/Burgundy from Black and White does this quite often, often times coming with a Bilingual Bonus. Just about every other word of hers is in French.
- This also reveals that Cilan speaks French as well, most notably during their tasting time duet. They shot off back and forth either speaking in figurative English or French.
- Eureka/Bonnie in the Japanese version of X and Y when trying to get a girlfriend for her brother, always asks them sil vous plaît.
- In the English-dubbed version of the Pretty Sammy OAV, Pixy Misa would speak French words and phrases.
- Most of the track titles on the Rebuild of Evangelion soundtracks are in French. Either that or they're a mess of numbers, letters, and underscores.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena, aka La Fillette Révolutionnaire Utena.
- A Japanese CD called Sailor Moon Super S in Paris is made of this trope. The lyrics are nonsense most of the time, being versions of the Japanese lyrics with French peppered in.
- Continuity Reboot Sailor Moon Crystal, despite being more prone to English borrowings, has the French phrase, A Suivre on its To Be Continued card, to go along with Alphonse Mucha-esque Art Nouveau imagery.
- In the Sakura Wars OVA École de Paris, the characters speak in French at least for the first few minutes, which doubles as Bilingual Bonus.
- School Days: In the Magical Heart Kokoro-chan OVA, Setsuna (who leaves to study abroad in the main series) plays the part of a mad scientist with a penchant for French phrases.
- Star Driver has a number of French terms: all the Star Swords are named after precious stones in French (Emeraude, Saphir, Diamant, etc.), all pilots activate their Cybody with a cry of "Apprivoiser!", and several characters have French-derived names, such as Ivronge and Simone.
- Strawberry Panic! has this all over the place. Tamao often cites brutal Flench phrases related to the Etoile system. (Fortunately, most of the girls at least say "Étoile" passably.) French is actually a required subject at Miator, but this hasn't helped Shizuma and Rokujou's pronunciation much; pity poor Nagisa, who's getting extra help from them.
- All written text in the anime of Sunday Without God is in French.
- Kuroi Tatsuki in Super GALS! Kotobuki Ran uses a few French words.
- In an English-dubbed episode of Tenchi in Tokyo, Ayeka spoke French upon meeting Biker Babe Masayo.
- The song "Valse de la Lune" from the Wolf's Rain soundtrack is also completely in French.
- Napoleon (a.k.a. Bonaparte) in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX peppers his speech with rather poor French phrases.
- Sherry Leblanc from Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's. Her name is bad enough, but her cae monster's name is "Fleur de Chevalier", which (because it is grammatically incorrect) literally means "Flower of Knight" "Fleur du Chevalier" is the corrent name. The English game translates it as "Chevalier de Fleur", or (again, due to grammar) "Knight of Flower".
- The only context where "Fleur de chevalier" could be correct is if you somehow plant a Knight, who'd latter blossom once Springs arrive. (One can only wonder then what a "Fruit de Chevalier" looks like)
- Doubling as a Bilingual Bonus: In one issue of Justice League Europe, as Superman flies over Paris, various people point at him and shout, "Est un oiseau! Est un avion! Non, est Super-Homme!" Superman admits to himself, "I never get tired of hearing that." However, its a rather odd Bilingual Bonus, since poor grammar causes said shouts to be the French equivalent of "Is a Bird! Is a Plane! No, is Superman!". Which makes no sense, unless France was actually Bizarro World all along... Which might explain a lot.
- Robin Series: When Tim first arrives in Paris to meet with a martial arts instructor there is a bit of untranslated French to help show the isolation caused by the language barrier but all subsequent French is translated to English and italicized.
- Rocky: Rocky and Manny subvert the trope while discussing Rocky's then current girlfriend.
Rocky: I mean, I like Emily, but her sister has a certain... je ne sais quoi...
Manny: Does je ne sais quoi mean "huge bouncy tits" in French or something?
- Roz Chast drew "The Man who was Admired for his Lack of Lack of Pretense", depicting a man decked out in smoking jacket, ascot and cigarette holder, in his apartment scattered with objets d'artenote on pedestals - he's saying to us "Let's only speak French for a while."
- One early strip from Bloom County had a character named Limekiller charms an old lady by saying "Madame, vos lobes d'oreilles ressemblent à des têtes de poissons." In the last panel, he tells Milo Bloom he said "Your earlobes look like fish heads", which is the correct translation.
- Code: Pony Evolution has this with the "Fancy" spells that require you to say things to make them work. In Gratuitous French (actually a Translation Convention for some unearthly language, just like all characters are speaking French in English).
- Aimee Mouffette from Monsterful, justified since she seems to come from a fictional version of Paris, the monster city of Vamparis, in other words she's french so to speak.
- Girl Genius:
Gil: Pardonnez-moi, Monsieur, mais où est la catastrophe?note
- Gilgamesh Wulfenbach spent some time in Paris and thus is fluent in French. He doesn't usually put Gratuitous French in his speech, but there was this one time he was delirious...
- One exit door of Castle Heterodyne has the inscription "Fuyez les dangers de loisir" ("Flee the dangers of leisure") above the frame.
- There's a sub-trend for characters using French to invoke the inherent sophistication, and butchering it. ("Ve get heem fixed op toot sveety! Dot's French!")
Guard: "Mighty generous" says I, but "no bless obli cheese," says he.
Master Payne: ...Does he?
Guard: All the time.
- In the "Revenge of the Weasel Queen" side-story, the blueprint for the Giant Mini Mecha costume made by the tailor clank has its captions entirely in (surprisingly accurate) French.
- The magic incantations on this page of Garanos. Of course, even for a native French speaker, they are hard to decipher due to a combination of nigh-unreadable font, light effects and bad grammar.
- Ménage à 3:
- The title of the comic, although French, is justified in that it has a long history of use by English-speakers. Here, though, it's used as a sort of bilingual pun; English speakers may take it as having sexual implications, appropriately enough for this sex comedy comic, but in French, its literal meaning is "household of three", which describes the basic set-up of the comic.
- The French-Canadian DiDi peppers her speech with French. The author is herself a Francophone, so it's all quite accurate, but it's all limited to the sort of basic language that anyone who's taken middle school French will know, but which anyone halfway fluent in English -- as DiDi apparently is -- should avoid. A potential Hand Wave is to write it off as a personal quirk on DiDi's part, perhaps reaffirming her cultural identity in an Anglophone environment, the simplicity of the language therefore being justified by the same need to retain effective communication which the writer faces.
- Darths & Droids made the decision to give Count Dooku an atrocious faux-French accent. This reached its height when he tried to say coup de grâce...with a French pronunciation. Ben was quick to point out the redundancy.
- In The Word Weary, John speaks French during the characters' Dungeons and Dragons game. The other players are quick to make fun of him for trying to sound pretentious.
- En Deuil, Le Film Artistique featured on the Dresden Codak page on April Fools' Day 2010. (There is also the Gratuitous German sequel A Work in Progress, from April Fools' Day two years later.)
- L'Academie du Chapeaux and its Badass Crew branch, La Brigade du Chapeaux from Kukuburi are led by Rendo, who despite his Quintessential British Gentleman image peppers his speech generously with French phrases.
- This little gem:
An American goes into a restaurant in Paris and says:
- I'd like to order le steak and le fries.
The waiter replies:
- Thank god I'm American too, because otherwise you would be eating le shit.
- Bizarrely enough, "shit" has been borrowed into French to mean "marijuana."
- In The Incredibles, Bomb Voyage refers to Mr. Incredible Monsieur Incroyable.
- Shrek: Robin Hood, who despite being a British folklore character aligned against French speaking Normans, uses some French words and speaks with a French accent for no particular reason (though some incarnations do have Robin as a lord of the Norman aristocracy).
- The Illusionauts (Freedom Force in the US) does a lot to remind you where the setting is. 'Tis annoying after a while, non?
- Swearing in the The Matrix Reloaded:
The Merovingian: Château Haut-Brion 1959, magnificent wine, I love French wine, like I love the French language. I have sampled every language, French is my favourite - fantastic language, especially to curse with. Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperie de connard d'enculé de ta mère. My God, it's like wiping your ass with silk, I love it.
:: For French Cursing 101 and an analysis of this sentence, just check here. In the French version of the movie, the Merovingian still speaks French. (Cue most French viewers almost expecting the characters to look at each other, giggle and go, "Yeah... And?")
- Spoofed in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery: "He has what the French call a certain... I don't know what." Fridge Brilliance: "je ne sais quoi", used to mean "An intangible quality that makes something distinctive or attractive" in English directly translates to "I don't know what" in French. He also says "I don't know what" with the same emphasis one would use with "je ne sais quoi."
- Played for laughs in the buddy cop film Bon Cop, Bad Cop (which deals with two cops from Quebec and Ontario) with a bilingual Cluster F-Bomb: "Shit de fuck de shit de merde de shit de câlisse de TABARNAC!"
- In The Addams Family, Gomez goes wild with passion whenever Morticia speaks French. The French dubbing switches this to Spanish.
- Intolerable Cruelty: Heinz, the Baron Krauss Von Espy says Marilyn Rexroth (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones) asked him for "a man whom she could herself brazenly cuckold, until such time as she might choose to, we would say, 'faire un coup de marteau sur des fesses.'" (Intended translation: nail his ass; literal translation: do a hammer blow on butts; Baron's own translation: Make hammer on his fanny.)
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "Fetchez la vache!". Note that "Fetchez" is not an actual verb, but that was probably on purpose. And it's still shorter than the proper French for it ("Amenez la vache" or "Allez chercher la vache"). It's a case of Franglish actually. The verb "to fetch" was mixed with the French suffix _ez.
- The Italian dub of their previous feature film, And Now For Something Completely Different, translates the policeman's utterance of "What's all this, then?" in the Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook sketch as "Bonjour!" for some reason.
- In Eve's Bayou, the characters often speak in French or Creole because it takes place in Louisiana.
- In Trading Places, when Eddie Murphy's character is confronted in a bar and is called a motherfucker, he responds with "Motherfucker? Moi?"
- For no other reason but to make Constance Bennett be even sexier, she sings a random French song in What Price Hollywood?
- The Trading Places example gets a Shout-Out in Terminator 2: Judgment Day as a young John Connor enquires: "Dipshit? Did you just call moi a dipshit?"
- The title of Hot Shots! Part Deux.
- To get the effect of French Creole speakers in The Feast Of All Saints without using subtitles, the characters speak predominately English with French accents, liberally sprinkled with French/Creole.
- It's generally the opposite in Canada where French Canadians have traditionally been an underclass. This leads to an inversion in The Rocket when the Anglophone coach congratulates his Francophone players for winning the Stanley Cup in French. It's seen as a surprising moment of him lowering himself to show his appreciation.
- In Kate & Leopold, Leopold hears that Kate's boss speaks French fluently, so he says something in French to show that the man doesn't know what he's talking about. Then Leopold says that he doesn't know that much French actually so he had probably said the only line in French that he knows.
- Averted in Django Unchained: Plantation owner Candie has a Foreign Culture Fetish for the French, demanding to be called "Monsieur" Candie, but doesn't speak it at all (and doesn't like people speaking it to him). The only French sentence spoken in the movie (by Dr. Schultz) is perfectly correct.
- Princess of Thieves: Milder than most, but the Baroness, who is loyal to Prince John, speaks with a French accent and threw in the occasional French term.
- For reasons attributable only to indie film quirkiness, the entire soundtrack of Ruby Sparks consists of French songs.
- An Education: Used often by Jenny, out of the blue and lampshaded bluntly by Helen:
Helen: You have a French conversation teacher? Is that why you suddenly speak French? For no reason?
- A somewhat perplexing example from the 2012 film of Les Misérables, with a crowd shouting "Vive la France!". Fair enough, until you realise that they're all French, and they live in France, so their French is already being translated into English. What language is that?
- From Ferris Bueller's Day Off: "Les jeux sont faits."Translation
- In Cinderella (2015), Ella is fluent in French, since her father has taught her since she was a child. Lady Tremaine and her daughters are perplexed to discover that Ella pronounces and makes complete sentences better than them, to the point that Drisella and Anastasia think she is speaking "Italian".
- In '''Call Me by Your Name, characters all speak French among each other, including the protagonist's parents. Helps that most of the cast is actually French.
- Played for laughs in the made for TV film Safety Patrol (1998), wherein the protagonist, Scout, tries to invoke this while he is in reality speaking Spanish, including using mano a mano in the wrong context. The nurse likewise interprets his Spanish as French. The villain speaks actual gratuitous French (moi, vous), but like Scout's Spanish, the words are applied incorrectly.
- The Nutcracker And The Four Reals has the villain, the Sugar Plum fairy.
- Colette: At some point Colette calls her dog "Tommy chien". Chien is French for dog, but nobody would say that (the French don't do Species Surname).
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: The sea goddess Calypso, upon being released from her confinement, shouts (in an extremely booming voice) "Malfaiteur en Tombeau, Crochir l'Esplanade, Dans l'Fond d'l'eau!"note . A rare case where French is used as a Black Speech, instead of for sexy reasons.
- In English Literature it was pretty common up until the 1980's for authors to regularly throw in a few French phrases here and there. It was a sign of an educated person to "know a bit of French". If you didn't, tant pis - too bad for you.
- Lolita. Good luck trying to figure out what they hell everyone's talking about if you aren't bilingual, because occasionally plot-relevant information is given only in French. Humbert is particularly given to this, and he gets kinda snooty when other characters use bad French. At one point, Lolita even calls him on this, saying that people find it rather annoying when he speaks French.
- Samuel Weller's father in The Pickwick Papers.
- Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot is Belgian and doesn't speak English fluently, so that character's use of French phrases is justified. Except that he actually uses less French than Christie's sympathetic English characters, who pepper their speech with French phrases. The reason is that Christie associated the use of French phrases with intelligent sophistication, not with arrogant pretension.
- Most characters in 19th century Russian novels are either fluent in French or follow this trope. Of course, French was the official language of the court of Imperial Russia.
- Lord Peter Wimsey of the Dorothy L. Sayers' crime novels frequently indulges in them. However, he a) IS not only sophisticated but also fluent in French and b) is usually conversing with other English people who can be expected (in the '20s) to have had significant French-language exposure at school.
- Partly because of his admiration for French Enlightenment writers, partly because his native German sometimes lacked just the right word or phrase, Friedrich Nietzsche sometimes used French words and phrases (as well as ones from other languages) in his books. The most famous of these is undoubtedly ressentiment, and the penultimate section of Ecce Homo concludes with a motto from Voltaire.
- In the original Ian Fleming Casino Royale novel, M is reading a report by Head of S in which the latter states that Le Chiffre is in the mess he's in because the chain of legal brothels he was running using embezzled party funds were closed by a 1946 French law usually referred to as "la loi Marthe Richard", which criminalised them. Head of S gives the full French title of the law note . M rings him up, asks what (it is implied) "proxénétisme" means — pimping (literally, "procuring"). M then responds:
"This is not the Berlitz School of Languages, Head of S. The next time you want to show off your knowledge of foreign jaw-breakers, be so good as to use a cribnote . Better still, write in English."
- Holly Golightly in the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's does this often, usually incorrectly; so did her creator, Truman Capote, and many of his society friends who wanted to seem more society than they were.
- In The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School, set in the 1920s, Head Girl Gryce peppers her speech with French words and phrases to the point that at times her dialogue consists of the occasional lonely word of English floating in a sea of French.
- In Young Adult Novel, when Horace Gerstenblut, the Lord High Executioner (i.e. vice-president) of Himmler High School, tells the Wild Dada Ducks that since they are not a recognized student activity they effectively don't exist, they decide to retaliate by printing a few hundred cards reading "Horace Gerstenblut n'existe pas" and distributing them in the school bathrooms. The cards were highly popular, though dozens of students had to ask what the words meant.
- Bertie Wooster in P. G. Wodehouse's novels often uses French phrases, sometimes wondering if they're correct (according to the footnotes, usually yes). Jeeves is equally prone to this. From the Jeeves-narrated "Bertie Changes His Mind":
Tact, of course, has always been with me a sine qua non;note while as for resource, I think I may say that I have usually contrived to show a certain modicum of what I might call finesse in handling those little contretemps which inevitably arise from time to time in the daily life of a gentlemans personal gentleman.
- In the Discworld novel Hogfather, a fancy restaurant names all their dishes in the pseudo-French language Quirmian. It's amazing how many fancy French titles they can give to dishes made out of mud and old boots.
- A running joke in Fool, a book by the same author as Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, concerning the fool from King Lear as the protagonist, is the main character's fondness for the following phrase: "'Moi!?' I said, In perfect fucking French."
- The Spanish Language Novel Aura by Carlos Fuentes includes whole segments in French, segments that apparently provide important clues to the plot.
- The character of Jean Claude from the Anita Blake series is very, very guilty of this. Most of what he says is complete bullshit to a native French-speaker, as a result of the author's sloppy research.
- In Jane Eyre, Adele almost always speaks in French. Justified as she is, after all, a French girl, but the multi-paragraph chunks of French can be daunting to the non-bilingual reader.
- Charlotte Brontë did the same in The Professor: set in French-speaking Brussels, the English protagonist maintains several conversations with non-anglophones in French.
- This trope is played with periodically in the case of Nell Harris. She is depicted as unworldly, verging on CloudCuckoolander-territory, but is in fact both intelligent and wise. In Aunt Dimity's Good Deed, she disguises herself as a French girl who is Willis Sr.'s ward and speaks French as a part of the cover, getting information from locals about Gerald Willis. Years later, she falls for Kit Smith, then her father's stable master and twice her age (She's 16, he's 32). He doesn't want to take advantage of her youth and tells her so, but he sneaks into her grandfather's estate to see her after her riding accident in Aunt Dimity Takes a Holiday. When he goes to leave her bedside, he says, "I...I should go. Good-bye, Nell." She replies, "Au revoir, Kit." The French phrase can be literally translated as, "until our next meeting," making it clear she still loves him and intends to pursue the relationship.
- Appears occasionally in the Red Dwarf novels by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, where the narration will occasionally use a French adjective. For example, Rimmer once gives a false smile which is described as trompe-l'oeil note .
- Appears frequently in Fancy Nancy's book series. Using French in order to look sophisticated is an essential trait of Nancy's personality.
- Suspicion by Swiss author Friedrich Dürrenmatt has a character named Edith Marlok whose Catchphrase is C'est ça.
- In spades from Eugenia Münster and Felix Young, the protagonists of Henry James' The Europeans, who regularly pepper their speech with French phrases, and often use the French pronunciation of words which the two languages have in common, such as "type".
- Thomas Mann's Felix Krull is fluent in French and his "Confessions" contain several short and long passages of untranslated French dialogue. He also gets to show off his English and Italian, but to a lesser extent.
- In the Harry Potter series, the official motto of the Black family is "Toujours pur", which means "Always pure"note . Makes sense, as the family is one of the oldest wizarding families in Britain, and French is the language of the British upper-class for centuries after the Norman conquest.
- The Delacour family (Fleur, Gabrielle, their parents) lapse into untranslated French phrases sometimes. But then, they are French...
- In Wolf Hall, Anne Boleyn is mentioned to pretend she's forgotten the English phrase for something (having been brought up largely in France) and use French as an affectation. She also habitually calls Thomas Cromwell "Cremuel", which is how other French-speaking characters render his name, but it's implied she does so to slight him.
- In The Shadowspawn, the villainous vampires are centuries-old Old World nobility and, in some cases, actual Frenchmen, and so make not altogether inconsiderable use of this. Notably, while sometimes gratuitous it's still mostly good French, correctly spelled and composed.
- In From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Mrs. Frankweiler offers Claudia and Jamie a lunch of nouilles et fromage en casserole...and laughs when they realize it's just macaroni and cheese.
- The Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker and the Four Realms uses a lot of French words (i.e. exactement, chic, au revoir)
- The Ringmasters in Cirqus Voltaire speak this.
- Ambuscade (and by proxy Stuntman, his heroic variant) in Sentinels of the Multiverse, who is a former French action movie actor and drops French phrase after phrase in his card names and flavor text. It's a bit zig-zagged, though. On the one hand the creators don't speak French themselves. On the other hand, they do consult a writer who actually is French on the matter, though fans often accuse them of not getting it right anyway. On the third hand they just as often deliberately get it wrong anyway (including deliberately mispronouncing Ambuscade's codename) since "it's not funny to be accurate all the time".
- Warhammer Fantasy: The feudal country of Bretonnia is equal parts Arthurian myth and medieval France, so naturally the French is of variable quality (being based on medieval French doesn't help either).
- One minor character named Gui le Gros is meant to be a Little John Shout-Out, but "gros" is closer to "fat" than "big".
- One seaport is named L'anguille (the eel) and another Bordeleaux (a take on the actual port town of Bordeaux, both of which come from "waterside").
- The duchy of Couronne (literally "Crown") is the capital city, Quenelles is named after a fish recipe, while the real-life Citadel City of Carcassonne gets expanded to an entire duchy of Proud Warrior Race Guys.
- Mid-Boss from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is fond of using "moi" in place of "me" during his dramatic speeches, simply because it sounds exotic.
- The original script had him using Gratuitous English as well, which obviously wouldn't work if translated literally.
- He uses Gratuitous French in the original script as well, saying "Mademoiselle".
- Mitsuru Kirijo of Persona 3 is prone to dropping a phrase or two at times, at least in the English dub. Then again, considering that she's the girl with the highest marks in school, she might actually know a fair bit of French.
- "'Tray ben?' What does that mean? That's not English is it?"
- The French exchange student, on the other hand, spouts Gratuitous Japanese. Go figure.
- Akihiko gets in on the action in the PSP remake.
- Persona 5 uses tarot cards motifs throughout based on the French Tarot of Marseilles, despite being a Japanese game made by a Japanese Company and set in the Japanese city of Tokyo.
- Kindle from Advance Wars.
- Not-gay-at-all chef Jean Armstrong speaks almost exclusively in these in the third Ace Attorney game. Played with when he begins to break down on the stand — he throws "Por favor" into the mix, only to find out that The Judge speaks Spanish and calls him on it. Of course, he mostly adds "le" before nouns, even nouns that are feminine in French.
- Waka in Ōkami uses French cliché phrases from time to time in the American translation. In the original Japanese version, he used Gratuitous English, but that wouldn't have translated well.
- Ruby Heart in Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes. Or at least it's supposed to be French. You can barely tell.
- Fantina speaks gratuitous French in the English version of Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. In the original Japanese version, her name was Melissa and she spoke gratuitous English.
- The Belgian Jeanette "Angel" Devereaux of the Wing Commander series often inserts French words and phrases into her speech, (for example, "Oui, mon colonel") and commonly refers to people as "monsieur" or ("mademoiselle" for Spirit).
- The Spy in Team Fortress 2 uses a heavy French...ish accent and numerous gratuitous French lines (and one or two Gratuitous Spanish/Italian lines as well). As part of a running development theme, his lines have numerous grammar errors ("ma petit chou-fleur" should use the male article, even when referring to a woman), and his voice actor isn't French. In the French Team Fortress 2, the Spy has some Gratuitous English in his lines instead.
- One of the preps in Bully refers to himself as nouveau riche because he's ashamed to admit that his father is a self-made man.
- Segundo from Beyond Good & Evil mixes Gratuitous French, Gratuitous Spanish, and Gratuitous Italian in a fairly random way. He doesn't just do so in English. The other dubs also portray him with a strange mishmash of accents and vocabulary, but with bonus Gratuitous Anglicisms, too!
- In the instruction manual for Brütal Legend, the description for a Grim Reaper unit lists a number of synonyms for death, including "petite mort", which is literally French for "little death". Unfortunately (or possibly intentionally), it's also an idiom for "orgasm", which is hopefully not related to the monster in question.
- The Coin Block people in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story speak in a French accent. Broque Monsieur might count as a French Jerk in that he hates Mario for "lowering the value" of Blocks and will tell him to scram if he comes by his shop.
- Although when generic NPC versions of their species appear in Dream Team, they speak normally; Broques Monsieur and Madame retain their accents.
- Mostly justified in the Metal Gear series:
- Larxene's weapons in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days all have French names. And she's seen reading a book called ''Marquis de Sade'' in Chain of Memories. This usage is notably in contrast to the theme of the other Original Generation, which is almost entirely Italian.
- Innes Lorenz from Tales of Hearts deserves an honorable mention, since all of her artes contain french words.
- A few items in Radiant Historia have French names, as does the continent on which it takes place, Vainqueur ("conqueror").
- Night Trap has Mr. Martin saying a couple of these, either because he is French or is trying to sound like it.
- Tales of the Abyss has the spell Eclair de L'armes (Flash of Tears, though due to apostrophe turns it into Flash of the Weapon) and its FoF Change, Flamme Rouge.
- Almost every line from Harle in Chrono Cross. The foppish Fake Ultimate Hero Pierre peppers his speech with French as well.
- Solatorobo is an interesting example: while all the written dialogue is in whatever language you choose, the voice clips (exclamations, etc.) are in French, but with obvious Japanese accents (i.e. Japanese Ranguage). Some of the expressions used come off more as Curse of the Ancients than a real insult. Signs, however, are written in perfectly correct French.
- Everywhere in Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure. Even the characters without French accents speak French from time to time. Then again, the game IS set in France.
- This is all over the place in Pokémon X and Y, due to the region of Kalos being based on France. For instance:
- Almost all the routes in Kalosnote and streets in Lumiose City bear French names.
- In the cafes, the items on the menu are known by their French names.
- Quite a few characters also pepper their speech with French words, such as Professor Sycamore.
- The Pokémon Furfrou is based on a poodle, a French breed of dog. Interestingly, it says the French onomatopoeia for barking "ouaf-ouaf" rather than the English "woof", or its name.
- Finally, there's Lumiose City itself, which is quite obviously based on the city of Paris - complete with an Eiffel Tower Expy known as Prism Tower (which is also the location of the Lumiose City Gym.)
- Spider-Man: Edge of Time: When Spidey 2099 informs Amazing Spidey that he can't access the present day Alchemax's archives, Amazing Spidey sarcastically responses "Quelle surprise!" note
- In Devil May Cry 4, one of the chapter titles is "La Porte de l'Enfer", which means "The Hell Gate" (literally "The Door of Hell").
- In the Japanese version of Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning's real name is Éclair Farron. Éclair means "lightning" in French. The English release changed it to Claire, likely because English speakers equate the word "éclair" with a type of pastry rather than a lightning strike.
- In The Matrix: Path of Neo the Merovingian is prone to this when he get's angry, also see The Matrix Reloaded example above.
- Magnolia Arch in Bravely Second peppers her dialogue with this in the English localization. In the Japanese version, she speaks Gratuitous English instead.
- Passepartout in 80 Days curses in French (merde!) and sticks to 'monsieur' and 'madame' when referring to people, mainly just because he can be a tad patriotic.
- Umineko: Golden Fantasia (A Fighting Game based off ''Umineko: When They Cry) has a French translation beneath just about every piece of on-screen text during battles, just because. A lot of them are grammatically dubious or translate into the wrong word, such as "Guard Touch" being translated as "Garder le toucher"note , "Counter hit" being "En sens inverse coup"note , and "Dash Cancel" becoming "Tiret annulé"note
- Mega Man Zero and Mega Man ZX series uses a lot of French words for names of characters, and they even throw in a few Theme Naming here and there: Characters from Zero's La Résistance are named after birds (their leader, Ciel, is French for sky), refugees in Area Zero are named after weathers (including their unofficial leader, Neige, snow), the Guardians are named after terrains (such as their leader, Prairie). Even their OST also gets on on the fun, with a few tracks such as Grand Nuage (great cloud).
- The Muppet Show.
- Miss Piggy. "Moi?" The fact she rarely uses more than a couple of words is often lampshaded; for instance when the guest star was Jean-Pierre Rampal, she went to ridiculous lengths to avoid admitting she couldn't speak fluently. There was also this from the Roger Moore episode:
Piggy: Roger, mon amor, you know we are meant to be. Vous and moi.Roger: Vous et moi? Nous?Piggy: Who?Roger: We.Piggy: Oh, oui. Oui, oui, oui.Roger: What are you trying to say, Miss Piggy?
- Much less frequently, but the Swedish Chef will occasionally add some French to his Foreign Sounding Gibberish (i.e. "où est la banananana").
- Miss Piggy. "Moi?" The fact she rarely uses more than a couple of words is often lampshaded; for instance when the guest star was Jean-Pierre Rampal, she went to ridiculous lengths to avoid admitting she couldn't speak fluently. There was also this from the Roger Moore episode:
- The second verse of Electric Light Orchestra's "Hold On Tight" is in French; more specifically, it's the first verse translated into French.
- The first half of Les Étoiles by Melody Gardot is in French.
- The Beatles song "Michelle," which is about professing love to a non-Anglophone French girl. (Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble and translated by the Beatles as "These are words that go together well.")
- Cole Porter liked having portions of his songs sung in French, often for no other justifiable reason than Everything Sounds Sexier in French. In "It's De-Lovely," one of the singers chides the other for "falling into Berlitz French."
- The Michelle Branch song "Till I Get Over You" has some gratuitous French in the chorus. It's coherent enough unless you read the album notes, which transcribe it wrong and then translate it wrong.
- Minako Aino's song "C'est La Vie ~ Watashi No Naka No Koi Suru Bubun" in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is a bit off in its understanding of the phrase "C'est la vie." "C'est la vie" means "That's life" but in a way roughly analogous to "shit happens", so the sentance "Atsui kimochi wa C'est la vie (This warm feeling is C'est la vie)" is a bit odd. It is also a ghastly pun on the character's old secret identity, Sailor V.
- The Talking Heads' song "Psycho Killer" has the bridge (as well as the hook "Psycho killer, qu'est que c'est?") sung in French, giving the song just that extra hint of derangement.
- Ian Dury & The Blockheads — "Hit me with your rhythm stick! Je t'adore, Ich liebe dich!"
- "Lady Marmalade"'s classic Intercourse with You "voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?" . Justified by the fact that the song is set in New Orleans, moreso when it was later covered for Moulin Rouge!, whose setting is Paris.
- Billy Idol: "Les yeux sans visage... Eyes without a face" (both phrases have the same meaning). The song is a Shout-Out to a 1960 French horror movie that's been released under both titles.
- Billy Joel's song "C'etait toi/You are the one" sings the entire song twice, once in English, once in French.
- The Agonist song Martyr Art has a French outro, and Revenge of the Dadaists has a French intro. Less gratuitous than most, however, since they are from the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec.
- Ottawa-based experimental grindcore act Fuck the Facts, who usually have at least two or three French-language tracks per album, give or take some (Amer, their most recent EP, has only one English-language track). Interestingly, Melanie Mongeon is a Francophone by default and spoke very little English when she joined, and she essentially learned English by forcing herself to write the majority of her lyrics in it.
- Contrary to what anyone in Muse might believe, the song "I Belong to You (Mon Cur S'ouvre à ta Voix)" actually contains the phrase "Riponds à ma tendress-uh".
- Lady Gaga has some gratuitous French in the bridge of "Bad Romance." Extra points for being timed so the next line (actually "I don't wanna be friends") sounds like "I DON'T WANNA BE FRENCH!" And more extra points for uncomfortably squeezing in an extra syllable for the French ("I want your love and I want your revenge" = 10; "Je veux ton amour et je veux ta revanche" = 11), its first iteration in the single swallows "veux" ("want") almost completely.
"And for no reason now I'll sing in French / Excusez-moi, Qui a pété?" note
- Which is excellently parodied by LittleKuriboh.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic also parodies this in his song "Perform This Way":
- Janet Jackson has some of this in her 1986 song "Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun)". When translated, it basically describes the song.
- Daft Punk, despite being (emphatically) French, has virtually all its songs in English. Nevertheless, when they released their anthology, what did they title it? Musique Vol. 1.
- Art vs. Science's song "Parlez-vous Français?", naturally, has plenty of gratuitous French in it. The line "Si tu peux le parler allez tombez la chemise" actually says "If you speak it, take your shirt off", most likely a reference to the song "Tomber La Chemise", which was quite a hit in France in 1998.
- Uffie's song "Robot Oeuf". Probably will be more common now that she's based in Paris. The song, however has no French to speak of. Just the title.
- Kasabian's 'La Fée Verte'.
- The Police song "Hungry for You (J'aurais Toujours Faim de Toi)", as you can probably tell by the parentheses, is almost entirely in French (one lone chorus gets sung in English towards the end).
- In Aine Furey's haunting song "13 wishes" most of the last verse is sung in French; even for high school speakers, "Elle est la fille, elle est la fleur... La bohème qui vive pour l'amour" is clear enough; the intervening line, not so much.
- 311's song "Salsa" lampshades this in the line "Je vais à la plage parce que le guignol est chouette! I kick nonsense in French tasty like Crepe Suzette". This translates to "I go to the beach because the Punch and Judy show is cool!"
- Judas Priest's 1977 song "Saints In Hell" has Rob Halford randomly howling: "Abattoir! Abattoir! Mon Dieu, quel horreur!" (Abattoir roughly means "slaughterhouse.")
- Shakira does this in her song "Something" (first verse, repeated later in the song).
- Ricchi e Poveri's "Voulez-vous Danser" ("Do you want to dance"). The song is in the singers' native Italian, except for the titular question, asked at the beginning and end of each verse.
- Eric Bogle's "Flying Finger Filler" contains a stanza in (intentionally) bad French. Of course, the entire song is not supposed to make any sense.
- Peter Gabriel's "Games Without Frontiers" features Kate Bush repeatedly singing the title in French ("jeux sans frontieres").
- MGMT's live EP Qu'est-ce que c'est la vie, chaton? - it translates to "What Is Life, Kitten?"
- Kylie Minogue:
- "Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi" (lit: "I Don't Know Why") in her early career featuring the title prominently.
- "Your Disco Needs You" also has a bridge spoken in French.
- Flight of the Conchords perform Foux de Fa Fa, which is basically the fragments of French that they remember from school shoehorned into song form to try to impress women.
Pamplemousse! ...Ananas! ...Jus d'orange! ...Boeuf!Soup du jour! ...Camembert! ...Jacques Cousteau! ...Baguette!
- The chorus of Rush's "Circumstances" has the line "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" followed by the English translation, "The more that things change, the more they stay the same."
- One of the verses of Queensrÿche's "I Don't Believe in Love" contains the phrase "No chance for contact, there's no raison d'etre".
- Les Savy Fav were known for this in their early days. There's gratuitous French in the first track on their debut, an album which also has a song called "Je T'aime". The band name itself means nothing.
- Adam and the Ants' "Ant Rap".
Liberté, Egalité, au jourd'hui c'est très très trèsVoici l'opportunité nous incroyables
- Moxy Fruvous, who otherwise sing in English, have "Morphée", sung entirely in French. Though none of the band were native French speakers, they were formed in Ontario, Canada, which does have a significant francophone population.
- The Alphaville song "Vingt Mille Lieues Sous Les Mers" is sung in English except for the chorus: "Comme vingt mille lieues sous les mers"note . The song is about a scene in a movie the singer can't remember the name of.
- R.E.M.'s "Talk About the Passion", from Murmur, contains the line "Combien du temps?" roughly translating to "For how long?"
- German band "Huah!" in "Ohne Titel". "Écoute, écoute!...c'est la guerre..."
- The Brobecks have a song called Le Velo Pour Deux", where the speaker uses a bit of french in an attempt to sound both more sophisticated and romantic.
- From Walk the Moon, the song "Work This Body" (and the rest of their music) is in English... Except for a few random lines. "Que ferais-tu? Putain, je ne sais pas! Ne vien pas pleurer vers moi " ("What would you do?" "Fuck, I don't know!" "Don't come crying to me...")
- A song on the Fantôme album by Utada Hikaru, Ore no Kanojo, has this, complete with awful pronunciation.
- Roxy Music in "Do The Strand": "Louis Seize note - he prefer Laissez-faire Lenote Strand".
- Japanese group Yellow Magic Orchestra have "La Femme Chinoise" on their self-titled album, which includes French spoken-word lyrics during the intro and bridge.
- "C'est la vie" by German synthpop artist Hubert Kah has French lyrics in its chorus and coda.
- Megadeth's "A Tout le Monde", whose chorus downright starts with "À tout le monde, à tous mes amis
- Nine Inch Nails' 'La Mer' ('The Sea') is entirely in Creole French, including the Arc Words 'Nothing can stop me now' note .
- Bill Wyman's "(Si Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star":
Je suis un rock star
Je avais un residence
Je habiter la
A la south of France
Partir with me?
And come and rester la
With me in France
- Tom Tom Club's "Wordy Rappinghood":
Mots pressé, mots sensé
Mots qui disent la verité
Mots maudits, mots mentis
Mots qui manquent le fruit d'esprit
- Ricky Martin's "The Cup of Life (La Copa de la Vida)" has "Allez, allez, allez" and "Une, deux, trois".
- The Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale" isn't really an example itself because they're just referring to a character type that happens to be named in French. However, Big Star's Cover Version translates the song's Title Drop entirely into French, changing "She's a femme fatale" to "Elle est une femme fatale".
- The B*Witched song "C'est La Vie" features just the title - which appears in the verse, so is repeated throughout the song - in French, with the rest of the song in English.
- Le "Le" meme. Must...resist...le self-demonstrating...edit...
- Formerly used on This Very Wiki as The Stinger to our Freudian Slippery Slope page... for the sake of a penis joke.
- In The With Voices Project, the title for Episode 2 of Undertale With Voices: Pacifist, Les Freres Sans Peau, translates to "The Brothers Without Skin."
- From Froghand, the headers are usually made up of legible French, even though "Froge" is a made-up word, and is not French for "frog" as you may have assumed, unless you yourself were French, but then that would be silly.
- In this parody Overwatch review, the reviewer claims that Widowmaker is "unrealistic"... because she doesn't say "sacrebleu" like a real French person.
- In the Protectors of the Plot Continuum's base in New Caledonia, all the street names and place names are in French (e.g. the Rue Jay Thorntreenote , Musée des Univers Perdusnote , Parc J. R. R. Tolkiennote , etc.)
- In an episode of Revolting People, Joshua attempts to sound sophisticated by adding gratuitous French expressions to his speech, despite having no idea what any of them mean (and thus invariably using them inappropriately). When Sam points this out, Joshua responds that everybody knows French is just decorative and it doesn't matter what the words mean — and anyway, he doesn't know what most words in English mean either, and he's never let that stop him.
- Justified in Fleuret Blanc, as the game is set in France and many of the characters are bilingual, so occasional French phrases make sense in the context of the setting. This is lampshaded by Le Neuvieme — to him, English is the gratuitous foreign language.
"I could not understand a word of that meeting. Why wouldn't they speak in French? We are in France, for God's sake!"
- Additionally, many of the game's music tracks have French titles.
- In Spirit Hunter: NG, Rosé's speech is peppered with a few French words and sayings, which fits with her image of a woman from the upper-class.
- Yoh from Starry☆Sky, who is a half, occasionally spouts a few lines of French. Although they might be grammatically correct for the most part, the pronunciation and spelling are terrible. His full name, Henri Samuel Jean Aimée, also counts as an example - a great name, given you're 200 years old.
- Eddie Izzard. Fluent in French, he has been known to perform his stand-up specials in French for French-speakers, and frequently includes segments in French in front of English-speaking audiences. Same goes for German, but that's a different trope.
- "Ou est la plume de mon oncle?" "La plume de mon oncle est bingy bongy dingy dangy..."
- "By the way, if you don't speak French, then all that was fucking funny"
- Averted by George Carlin during the introduction to his album Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics, where he makes a point to tell us that he will not be using the French adverb trèsnote to modify any English words.
- Subverted in Only Fools and Horses, wherein Del Boy tries to use French to seem intelligent, but constantly, CONSTANTLY gets it wrong... to the point of saying bonjour to mean "goodbye" and au revoir to mean "hello". Perhaps most memorable amongst the mangled Del-speak French is his expansive exhortation of bonnet de douche 'shower cap'.
- Lampshaded in one of the last specials in which they actually go to France:
Del: One of my favourite French dishes is duck à l'orange. [...] How do they say "duck" in French?
Rodney: It's "canard".
Del: You can say that again, bruv.
- Lampshaded in an earlier episode
Rodney: Del, you can't speak French. You're still struggling with English.
- Word of God is that Del has failed to grasp that French phrases actually mean things at all.
- Lampshaded in one of the last specials in which they actually go to France:
- In Doctor Who, the Tenth Doctor has a habit of using the phrase "Allons-y!" ("Let's go!") every now and then in both the show and the new novels. This and his use of "molto bene" (Italian for "very good"/"very well") end up saving his butt in "Midnight" when the Hostess recognizes the words are coming out of the wrong person.
- The critical work "Inside the TARDIS", describing the Male Gaze of the camera when Zoe's around, drops into French to name which area of her body it keeps lingering on. Her "derrière".
- Dollhouse plays this one to a regrettable T. In eipsode 8 (Needs), doll Tango appears with her handler during a tense escape scene. She's speaking French, but instead of a Bilingual Bonus, it ends up causing unintentional levity for some tropers, because the dialogue is stiltedly written and painfully delivered. In heavily American-accented French, Tango remarks:
"Chaque mot que tu dis c'est comme un [?] mes oreilles." ("Every word you say it is like a [?] my ears.")"Les véhicles [?] c'est dégoûtant." ("The vehicles [?] it's disgusting.")"Je ne sais pas pour qui j'ai [sic] continué à employer ce service de voiture en Los Angeles." ("I don't know for who I've continued to use this vehicle service in Los Angeles.")
- Iron Chef is a Japanese cooking show. Its successor, Iron Chef America, is an American version. Both have the same call to arms, "Allez, cuisine!" Which translates roughly to "Go cook something !" or "Cook !".
- Or, it could be translated as "Go cook" ("Cuisine" is both the verb "to cook" and the place "kitchen"), still grammaticaly incorrect though.
- Much to the detriment of many a Hell's Kitchen fan, Benjamin from season 7.
Benjamin: Oui, Chef!
- On White Collar, Keller is guilty of this.
Keller: Are you familiar with the term... "Pis aller"?
Peter: My French is a little rusty.
- Mozzie, too.
- One Monty Python sketch is basically two Frenchmen talking about a flying sheep in French.
- In one episode of Fawlty Towers, Sybil told the "Pretentious? Moi?" joke to Audrey over the phone.
- The "French" Captain Jean-Luc Picard drops the occasional French-ism in the early seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, most notably a well-placed "merde" in "Encounter at Farpoint". Later, they mostly just let him be British.
- Q does this sometimes, calling Picard "mon capitan" just to get on his nerves.
- Of course, "capitán" is Spanish, the French word being "capitaine". Probably a mispronunciation from John de Lancie.
- Q does this sometimes, calling Picard "mon capitan" just to get on his nerves.
- Enter in Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, whose catchphrase is Ça va, Go-Busters? ("How are you, Go-Busters?") He's also fond of saying "non, non, non!" when trying to placate his Bad Boss. He has many other French-isms.
- Pierre Alfonso Oren of Kamen Rider Gaim is every bit as fond of French as Enter is, though they don't share any catchphrases. C'est bon! In his early appearances, we got little speech bubbles translating them onscreen, but that didn't last. Even his name is an example: his real name proves to be a much more Japanese Gennosuke Oren.
- Lampshaded in 30 Rock after Liz has her first executive lunch:
"Who's got two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn't cried once today? This moi".
- The Hour has Marnie speaking some on her cooking show, as well as when talking to Camille, who is french.
- My Kitchen Rules: Camilla from season 6 tries to show off her sophistication by setting-up a French-themed restaurant and then introducing the instant restaurant to the guests in French. The other teams were more confused than impressed, especially since the only other person who understands French is not present. And later, we find out that not even her team mate, Ash, understands her.
- The Musketeers Despite being a British-made adaptation, the characters often use various French words in their vocabulary to keep in line with the show's setting in 16th-century Paris.
- The Great British Bake Off: If a bake deals with a specific nationality Mel and Sue won't just imitate the accent, they'll speak in the language of the country of origin when making announcements. French is just one of the many languages they've spoken... sort of... in the Bake Off Tent.
- Lampshaded in the Act I finale of Iolanthe: While it has long been accepted as part of the English lexicon, peer and peri alike remind the audience that "the word 'prestige' is French." They also point out the origins of "canaille," "pleb," and "hoi polloi" (which, incidentally, mean more or less the same thing). So you have "a Latin word, a Greek remark, and one that's French."
- In A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche briefly talks French to Mitch, but finds that he doesn't understand.
"Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? Vous ne comprenez pas? Ah, quel dommage!" note
- The Strauss opera Die Fledermaus has two characters pretending to be French at a Viennese ball. They exchange simple phrases until the other guests demand they speak German.
- Anything Goes has a chorus in which "bon voyage" is pronounced incorrectly and correctly, and a few other phrases are correctly rendered in French.
- The Cat and the Fiddle, set in Brussels, has much spoken and sung French from major and minor characters. The final scene of the Show Within a Show is sung entirely in French, as is "The Night Was Made For Love" at the beginning of the show (the same character reprises it in English several times).
- In Hamlet, despite the setting being Denmark, Hamlet and his father both break in to French, saying "Adieu" instead "good-bye" for no apparent reason. Laertes, having returned from France, does not.
- It may have something to do with the specific meaning of the phrase "àdieu" — it literally means "at God", meaning that Hamlet and his father will see each other again in Heaven. This could be something of a vow, in Hamlet's case, that he would avenge his father and free his father's soul from Hell.
- In Cabaret, many of the phrases in the opening number "Willkommen" are sung in Gratuitous German, then in Gratuitous French, then in Gratuitous English.
- In Act III, Scene I of Twelfth Night, Sir Andrew Aguecheek is Suddenly Bilingual enough to have a brief exchange with Viola in French. (Earlier in the play, he didn't even know the word "pourquoi".)
Sir Andrew: Dieu vous garde, monsieur.
Viola: Et vous aussi. Votre serviteur.
- In Camelot, though Lancelot's "C'est Moi" is entirely in English aside from the title, he also (at the start of the second act) sings to Guenevere a chanson whose first verse is in French.
- In South Pacific, "Dites Moi" is entirely in French. Reasonable; it's a song being sung by two Malayo-French children.
- The Musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes has some gratuitous French, particularly in the interlude to "Sunshine": "C'est la vie! Ah, mais oui! Soleil, soleil!"
- More Shakespeare — in Henry V, Princess Katherine of France and her lady-in-waiting Alice have a whole conversation in French. Bad French, but it does include the staples of any conversation in his plays.
- In Matilda, Mrs. Wormwood's part of "Miracle" has a line combining gratutious French and Italian: "I should be dancing the tarantella, qui mon fella Italiano".
- City of Angels plays this for a few quick jokes between Stine and Avril Raines, the starlet playing Mallory in the film:
- In Anyone Can Whistle, Fay and Hapgood converse in thickly-accented French with un peu de difficulté:
Hapgood: You're a woman—I adore women.
Fay: And I adore docteurs.
Hapgood: Médecins. You adore médecins.
Fay: Oui. J'adore des médecins parce que je suis une—How do you say "nurse"?
- Star Wars: The Sith, Zero: Happens when Louise speaks her native language (Fantasy-French) when the majority of characters speaking another language (Standerd Galactic Basic... ususally). One example is when Louise is threataning Ffon after he pressed her Berserk Button.
Louise: If you ever call me that again, je te tuerai.translation
- The Child of Love: Spoken by the managers of an arcade game center where the children often play. After meeting the owners, Shinji and Asuka learn some French words and use them every so often (it helps the fanfics writer is French):
Asuka:"I guess I'll need something fashionable..."
Shinji (grinning, with a bad fake French accent):"De préférence."
Asuka (puzzled):"Wh...what did you say?"
Shinji:"Preferably, in French. The staff at AXL's Game Center taught me some cool French phrases, you know."
- Red Fire, Red Planet has Ensign Jacques Pierre, who is from Quebec, say goodbye to his fiancee Ens. Kate McMillan as follows:
Je taime. Au revoir, ma chérie.Translation
- In Child of the Storm, Jean-Paul Beaubier (in this canon, actually French as opposed to French-Canadian) sort of speaks like this, though it's mostly restricted to referring to someone as mon cher or ma cherie. It's implied to be an affectation, however, along with most (but not all) the rest of his harmless Camp Gay mannerisms, as it completely disappears when someone starts treading on thin ice. It's also shown that while he's fluent in English, he doesn't always know the right word or phrase.
- In the sequel, Gambit shows similar tendencies. Because of the above, Carol, who speaks fluent French, bluntly tells him that it won't charm her. It kind of does, if only a little.
- In the Magical Girl Crisis Crossover Shattered Skies: The Morning Lights, Big Bad Joker peppers his speech with French. It's deliberate Translation Convention, given that he did the same with Gratuitous English in his parent series.
- Commonly seen in Quebec due to the province's language laws, leading to, for instance, Italian or Asian restaurants advertising their French names and signage in English-language ads running on Plattsburgh/Burlington or Ottawa (or English Quebec) TV stations, since Anglophones have to find the place in French.
- During some historical periods, French became so dominant among European nobility and academic circles that it often replaced the native languages in public conversation. For example, when King Gustav III of Sweden was shot in 1792 (in Sweden, surrounded by Swedes) his reaction was: "Ah! Je suis blessé. Tirez-moi d'ici et arrêtez-le". (I am wounded. Pull me out of here and stop him.)
- Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte managed to rule Sweden and Norway for 26 years (as Charles XIV and III John) without speaking a word of either Swedish or Norwegian. This was no problem at all, as anyone who was in a position to interact with the king was at least conversational in French anyway.
- This explains why George II, who was King of England, responded to his wife's deathbed plea that he take another wife with "Non, j'aurais des maîtresses!" (No, I will have mistresses!)note
- Indeed, England's national motto is "Dieu et mon Droit." (God and My Right) Yes, the motto of England, as well as the British Sovereign, is in French.
- For many of the same reasons that the British royals, French—especially Old French—is common in the legal profession in states adopting The Common Law. That reason being—the common law was first established under the Old French-speaking Normans and Angevins, particularly Henry II Curtmantle. Thus for several centuries, the official language of the English courts was, oddly, French—specifically a formal register of the Norman dialects of Old and Middle French known as Norman Law French. Eventually, the law courts began to use English, but not before the English lawyers used when not before the courts was thoroughly peppered with Law French words and phrases. Like the Latin phrases in the law, much of the French really is gratuitous (e.g. profit a pendre, which means exactly the same thing as the perfectly serviceable—if equally inscrutable—English phrase "right of common"). On the other hand, some is semi-necessary, e.g. pur autre vie: while it could be and sometimes is replaced with "for the term of another life," the French is a lot more concise. In a few cases, the French really is necessary, like the word parol in "parol evidence": although the term means "oral" or "spoken" in the original French, this rule of contract law banning the use of oral pre-contract understandings to contradict written contracts now also—if not primarily—applies to written pre-contract understandings, and couldn't be really expressed with another more "English" word.note Of course, Law French was around so long that a lot of Law French words have seeped into the common language and are not even recognized as French in contemporary English: see "recovery," "tort," "trove," "remainder," "jury," "larceny" (along with its qualifying adjectives, "petty" and "grand"), "parole," "attorney," "plaintiff," "defendant," "mortgage," "culprit"...
- In Flanders (the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium) it is still common for people who consider themselves to be upper class to speak French amongst each other. Most other people look down on the bourgeoisie for that.
- Anthropologie (aside from its name) tends to sell products with nonsensical French brand names like "Moulinette Soeur" (Food Mill Sister)
- In translations of letters and speeches by Romans their own Gratuitous Greek is sometimes replaced by French, as it has the same connotations but readers are slightly more likely to know what it means.
- As mentioned above, high-class French restaurants have a tendency to write their menus in French (even if the restaurant is in a country where the average citizen's knowledge of French is nil). Even if the menu is ostensibly in English, there would often be enough French culinary terms peppered to cause a beginner diner to go cross-eyed.
- Speaking of food, the meat names nearly always have French origin (but it is so old that you don't count it as gratuitous anymore). Have a list.
- The generally accepted plural of the English abbreviation "Mr." is "Messrs.", which stands for the French word messieurs.
- In Japan, French language is commonly use in fields related to the image of France, like fashion or cuisine. They're frequently full of typos or various grammar mistakes (translated into French from other languages), to the point of sometimes being barely understandable by actual French-speakers. They actually are supposed to be decorative rather that informative. In French, those writings are refered as either "Franponais" ("Frenponese") or "Flançais" ("Flench").
- Train operator Greater Anglia features posters warning that only a few bicycles are allowed on a train. This poster features the phrase "Planning a Tour de Anglia?", using the same base as the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshirenote . However, this poster, in a case of Critical Research Failure, is incorrect in what an event would be called: the proper French name would be "Tour dAnglie".
Très bien, très bien, mes amis! Vous êtes tous magnifiques. note