Why do the British and Americans think it is pretentious when people pronounce French words correctly?

I'm not saying words used in everyday English but if a word is a word I only know in French or learned in French first it just comes out that way.

An example that comes up a lot in restaurants is food. Duck Confit or Confit du Canard. In the U. S. I order as Duck Confit as it is listed on the menu but I naturally pronounce "confit" as it were in French and I get eye rolls. I'm not calling to dish by its French name it pronouncing 'menu' as it would be in French.

Spanish speakers don't have this problem. I'm not a French national but I speak the language well and lived in Paris in my twenties so it just comes out this way. People who know this don't bat an eye lash but others that don't take offense.

Updates:
Oh, also to make it even better I use my hands when I speak French?

As every French speaker does but Americans hate this!

In English we are taught to sit on our hands while speaking. In French it is natural and hard to get the point across sometimes without hands. I've practiced speaking French with Canadians sitting on my hands to not stand out.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • Because there's no practical reason to speak French in the U. S. People who do are seen as showing off since they have the luxury of time to learn useless things.

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    • Yeah, I agree.

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    • It's more like a salad bowl. Immigrants come here and self-segregate and remain poor because they don't attempt to adapt to the culture and hold on to the traditions that they were supposedly fleeing from.

    • The Irish came in two waves due to famine, not because of lack of love for their country or countrymen. English is not their islands native tongue.

      Central Americans are sending their kids on a thousand mile journey across a war zone for hopes of a better future because in their home country the only one is certain death.

      Jews came here after the wars. If you found yourself in a foreign country you would take up with with other people who have your culture, other Americans. It's how we bridge together and integrate as a species.

What Guys Said 6

  • I'm not American. I live in the US, coming from Spain, and I do know some French and how to pronounce certain things because my father worked in Marseille for some time and knows French, and he worked at a restaurant so I would pronounce Confit du Canard just how a French person would (but with accent).
    This doesn't happen just in America or UK, or just with French. In Spain people sometimes thought I was pretentious when I pronounced English words with an English accent, just cause I studied for 10 years in a British school. People just think you're trying to look more educated or better than them. It's usually insecure people, so I don't give a shit.

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    • Thanks for sharing. If said it correctly phonetically but didn't pronounce it as the French would than people wouldn't give me as hard of a time. But confit comes from the back of the throat in French and if you don't have a French tongue the sound is pretty foreign which I guess catches the ear. But I do know this is a problem with French in general.

      If I have a chance a stop myself and try to pronounce it with the English part of my mouth on business dinners. But it's In words we don't use everyday that trip me up. I don't eat at French restaurants often.

  • I can't say I have ever seen this problem the only thing I can think off is the waiting staff think it is an English speaker putting on airs and graces plus french is probably the stuffiest cuisine for pretension. They don't realise you only know as a french word.

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  • Because the French language altogether sounds snooty and stuff and I'm part French myself and even I feel this way about it.

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  • it's not... i can pronounce em correctly as well 8)

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  • I don't. But to some it may look as if you are trying hard to get noticed.

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    • What an elaborate plan. I don't need my tongue to get noticed. I'm noticed for being good at my job but this is something that takes away from that.

  • It's not offensive... it's just not necessary

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What Girls Said 6

  • Don't even get me started on how people would give you weird looks when you know how to pronounce "Les Misérables" correctly lmao. It's because they're hella pressed over the fact that you know multiple languages (or at the very least know how to pronounce things correctly in other languages) while they don't. Makes them feel inferior :D

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  • Everyone who knows me knows that I'm part French and speak the language well, so if I mispronounced it, I'd get the funny look. Everyone associates French with snobbery because French people are usually snobby lol.

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  • They're just jealous.

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  • People think that? Strange. I'd figure that if you know how to say it right, say it right. I mean, if you make a point of correcting people -or sound like you do, I understand how that can get old, but just in everyday conversation?

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  • Because they are not used to french. If you would speak Spanish in the US, nobody would care because nowadays you hear more Spanish in some states than English :-)

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  • i dont think it is.

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