I think I have a new favorite word. Everyone needs a word, right? Something that rolls right off your tongue without thinking about it? A word that you can use enthusiastically or astringently or nonchalantly. A word that sounds like you were born to claim? A word that is just fun to say. Jerry Seinfeld had “salsa.” My new word is d’accord. Fancy, right? D’accord. It basically means, “okay”, in French. Why would I want to use this simple word effortlessly as I am delving into my new Parisian life? Probably because I like the way it just sounds “so French” (and quite surprisingly, all the letters are pronounced!) I can say d’accord and not feel I am mispronouncing or butchering or requiring elucidation after I say it. D’accord.
According to my new best friend named Google Translate, d’accord means okay, in agreement with what has been said. I take it to mean, “yes, I get it, right?” Or the current colloquialism, “Am I right?”, said as a statement. The French apparently use d’accord followed by the letters, OK. D’accord, ok. I thought they were doing that for me so I could understand, but thankfully, I’m not singled out on this one. Despite my attempts of studying my French and writing out what I want to say and practicing the words before heading out, I manage to subliminally say, “French is obviously not my mother tongue” with the first syllable out of my mouth. It doesn’t matter that I am dressed just like 98% of my peers. It doesn’t matter that I have the tongue clucking and discerning face going as I peruse the vegetables at the market. I open my pie hole and my cover is blown.
When I converse with someone who doesn’t speak English, no matter where in the world I am, I find I do a lot of head bobbing and gesticulation. As if that is going to get my words out more clearly. D’accord? In my efforts here to embrace the French way of life, I want to abandon my futile attempts at understanding like a Cro-Magnon. I want to hear their words, tilt my head in momentary consternation and brilliantly reply.
Want and Do are two completely different verbs. As much as I want to look sophisticated during my literary attempts, I am sure I look oafish and inept. Here comes, “d’accord” to the rescue! To save myself from neck strain and looking like the Bobblehead figures my kids collected, I have embraced, “d’accord” to let them know I hear them and am agreeing that I am kind of getting it. Brilliant, d’accord? My ruse will buy my little pea- brain a little more time to run their words through my head over and over like a record, until it makes sense.
How does this really fare in my daily life outside the farmers market though? I find myself telling myself “d’accord” as if I am convincing me, but truth be told, it is hard to have this sunny, happy word completely transform my learning curve. It does however give me the disposition I need to keep going forward, no matter how frustrating it can be. My new favorite word is like my little boon, giving me strength to try again. As I mentioned before, these cute little kiddos riding their scooters everywhere appear to be having the most delightful conversations in French. How hard could it really be? D’accord?
2 thoughts on “It’s All in How You Say It”
I so know the feeling! Never in french but I have always wondered what I have agreed to with my head nodding and agreeable “ya’s”, “sis” and okays! XO
Isn’t it funny that head bobbing seems to be the international way of speaking?! Love you!