Hotcakes and Hiccups

I recently had a conversation with one of my co-workers that could only happen in a place like Montreal where we constantly switch back and forth in French and English at work. While I can work in French, I don’t have an extensive daily vocabulary. The same can be said of my co-worker who is French and can work in English. We often help each other out, asking about grammar and the correct way to say something. Our desks are side by side with a divider in between, so while we can’t see each other, we can talk to each other.

Now the key words in this conversation are “hoquet” which is French for hiccup and the word “hotcakes.” If you say “hotcakes” with a heavy French accent, guess what it sounds like?

Our conversation went like this:

Co-worker: I have hoquet.

Me: You had hotcakes?

Co-worker: Is that how you say it in English?

Me: Yes. Hotcakes?

Co-worker: Oh, that is interesting. I have hoquet.

Me: It’s the same as pancakes.

Co-worker: What?

Me: Hotcakes is another way to say pancakes.

Co-worker: I think that is not what I mean. I have hoquet.

Me: You had hotcakes for lunch?

Co-worker: No. Hoquet. (She hiccups loudly)

Me: You have hiccups!

Co-worker: What? Hoquet? It is the same?

Me: No, hiccups. H-i-c-c-u-p. How do you spell it in French?

Co-worker: H-o-q-u-e-t


Me (puzzled): So hotcakes gave you hiccups?

Maybe it wasn’t just the language. We had a good laugh. 🙂

Have you ever had a conversation like this?

2 thoughts on “Hotcakes and Hiccups

  1. So funny! Yes, we’ve had a conversation like this. My daughter’s school was collecting pop tabs (from soda cans) and she called her grandmother to see if she had any pop tabs because my daughter’s class was closing in for first place. She told her grandmother they only needed 13 more. So Grandma, hoping and willing to be the hero, hurried to the store and bought 13 hot pads. Hot pads..pop tabs…hoquet…hotcake. 😉

    My daughter’s class didn’t win, but we still laugh about the mix-up.

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