October 7, 2005

Lifehacker Learns French At Costco

After 8 years of staring at the bilingual packaging at Costco (bilingual so the company doesn't have to maintain entirely separate product inventories for the fine, fine folks in Canada, who like to keep their languages equal but separate), Lifehacker has finally figured something out: dÈbarbouillettes is French for "baby wipes."

Actually, Lifehacker, it's Quebecois. In France French, they say "lingettes pour bÈbÈ." We just threw out a half-used packet that still smelled like bananas and peaches, even after 18 months. [The English word for that: gross.]

Of course, it takes a lot longer than 8 years to make sense of the nuances of French vs Quebecois.

Learn French at Costco [lifehacker via dt reader Eric]

5 Comments

Surely some of that bilingual packaging is a NAFTA artifact? Although, in that case there'd be spanish language instructions too.

Not that it matters, but I think "dÈbarbouillettes" refers generally to wet wipes (not just baby wipes) and so in la belle province they use the generic term (not that they use the term in France - can't understand them with their funny accents over there...).

[lololol funny accents over there lololol -ed.]

I think you are mistaken. I'm confident that dÈbarbouillettes is French for barbaloots. Brown barbaloots would be "dÈbarbouillettes brun".

[dat might be de way it sounds when a Quebecker reads Dr. Seuss -ed.]

The Quebecois have all kinds of strange "French" words. They like to use english expressions translated into French, like "traffic jam", which in French is "bouchon", is "confiture" in Quebec (literally "jam" translated into French)

and the response to thank you they use is "bienvenu", as in "bienvenu vers l'Amerique" (welcome to America)

[I love that place. I wish we had one in the US. -ed.]

Probably something to do with the fact that Canadians aren't all OCD about the destruction of their language like the French are.

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