tiistai 20. kesäkuuta 2017

The Microculture Of One International Couple

Years ago I remember watching a program about French weddings. There was a French-American couple that mentioned having created their very own culture that only the two of them were part of. Back then I just thought it was interesting and sweet, but I can now actually identify with them! 

We live in France, but I don't feel like we are living in a particularly French way. I am not either imposing Finnish culture on my husband. I think this has a lot to do with both of us being open minded and flexible people. We are ready to make changes for each other's comfort. But the biggest reason behind the development of our own little microculture must be that neither of us has never been the typical French nor Finn. We have been the odd ones. We had the hunger to go out there to adventure and find someone who shares our view of the world in a way our own kin never did. When I met Q for the first time, I got the most familiar feeling from him. Cheesily put: we found in each other the home we did not find elsewhere. 

At home we don't really cook Finnish nor French food. We speak English, but there are words that we always say in Finnish or French. There are also expressions that nobody else uses. Also, if someone ever catches us chatting, they must think we are some of the most bad mouthed English speaking people. I wasn't used to using so many curse words before I met Q, but he told me he compensates his lack of vocabulary with other words. In our microculture it is okay, but I feel sorry for the natives that might be shocked by our language. I know how much bigger impact it makes, when someone curses in your mother tongue. In the very beginning Q used to call me in Finnish a pikku paskiainen (a little bastard). I knew he was joking, but I couldn't help being just a bit offended. When I told him about this, he said that he didn't realise, because to him it's just words. I try to keep this on mind when I am around other people. This applies on the French too as in our mutual language we have quite a few French swear words...

A Few examples of our microculture's sophisticated language

grandma/any aged female individual = Mummo
grandpa/any aged male individual = Pappa
a basket = panier
a trash can = poubelle
a red neck = jorma
thank you = kiitos
a man = dude, dudelsson
a pigeon = pulu
small = pikku
cute = buyo
making love = guzi-guzi
something we don't know the English word for = this/that shit
a very nice man = a man of fine feelings

Use in sentences

"Do we need any poubelle bags?"
"The pappa seemed like a man of fine feelings."
"The poubelle dude was such a jorma"

I didn't include the swear word part of our vocabulary as that might attract some questionable audience here. As neither of us is a native speaker of English, we have adapted each other's ways of pronunciation and even grammatical mistakes. Already last year my English colleague told me that she found me having a French accent very disturbing...I didn't even realise.

The other day we were looking for a nice hotel for a little weekend get-away. Q found a place and went to see its reviews, informing me that we can't go there because people had found "shit" on the sheets. Later I told in the dinner table my father-in-law how outrageous it is that these people had found poo in between the sheets! My husband going, "What?!" And me, "But you told me there was shit in the bed!" Him (laughing his ass off), "I meant that there was some dirt!!" Yup, we do still sometimes get lost in translation. I know a few international couples that don't even have one language they both speak fluently. They still manage to understand each other and be happy together! The power of love really is something quite amazing.

Do you have experience of a mixed culture relationship? Is your mutual language as sophisticated as ours? ;D

5 kommenttia:

  1. Oh my goodness yes, I'm Canadian/French with a Brazilian partner and as we lived mostly in Brazil this year I actually invented a few verbs like "mockar" (to make fun of someone) and "pumar" (erm, to fart) which make no sense to Brazilians but my partner started using them in front of other people and it was so funny to see them look at him all confused at these new words :P

  2. Hahah, "pumar" made me crack up :DD It's so cool you can talk about this sort of things so liberally around other people and they'll have no idea ;D Mu husband said that soon we will have crossed a line where we can't mix with other people anymore as we will have become too weird... ;D

  3. Oh, yes, a lot. Although we speak mostly proper Spanish (his mother tongue), it does gets mixed up with some English, a very rare Latvian word and quite few inventions/linguistic cross-overs as in Abigail's case above, following the Anglo-Saxon logic that you can make a verb out of every noun (our fart vocabulary includes "pedar", a fusion of the Spanish noun + the most common verb ending that then indicates the conjugations; people would probably understand this, but it's not how the Royal Academy would call that). It's both our microculture and sheer laziness in many cases, knowing that the other person will understand it (and probably find amusing, too).

    1. Haha, I find also that our laziness and the trust that the other half gets the meaning is in the core of the evolution of our communication. Well, evolution basically means for us that pronunciations of English words change, the sentences are lazily structured and words of our native languages get mixed in :D So interesting to hear other international couples' experiences! How long have you been living in Spain? :)

    2. Exactly! I've been here basically permanently since 2009, so I've been successfully Spaniardized (and actually worry that the lax linguistic microcosm we have at home is damaging my Spanish).