The French Language Makes One Callous

I’m not exactly the warmest of individuals, but I have realized how heartless my language has become as I continue to study French. Today in class we were supposed to write a couple sentences wishing good luck using “je souhaite” (I wish) or “j’espère” (I hope) in situations such a wedding, a new year’s party, an exam, and retirement.

This is what I would say in French to a newlywed couple:

J’espère que vous ne divorcez pas (I hope you don’t get divorced. This was after I had accidentally said “I hope you get divorced”, sounding like a spurned lover. Either way, I don’t think it’s something that you say at a wedding for good luck.)

This is what I would say in French to someone on New Year’s:

Je souhaite que vous trouviez un nouveau travail. (I wish that you find a new job. I mean, I know a new year, a new beginning, but perhaps I was thinking too literally? I just hope that if I ever have an office party in France, I never say those words because that would cost a lot in legal fees to cover.)

This is what I would say in French to someone who is about to take an exam:

J’espère que vous connaissez le sujet. (I hope that you know the subject. Hardly helpful, don’t you think?)

This is what I would say in French to someone who is retiring:

Je souhaite que vous ne vous ennuyiez pas. (I wish that you aren’t bored. Yeah, great way to rub it in that a person isn’t working anymore, isn’t it?)

I fear that I am becoming more and more unsympathetic as my mastery of the French language increases. Am I turning French?


2 responses to “The French Language Makes One Callous

  1. Yet French is the language of love? Perhaps you just need to read some French poetry. Or Le Petit Prince ( is at least somewhat more poetic/optimistic?

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