Wednesday, October 18, 2006

You are missing from me.

As someone whose French is littered with anglicismes, one of the phrases that always trips me up is: "Tu me manques." In English we say "I miss you" and so I always feel like I should say "Je te manque" in French even though I know full well it is incorrect.

I'm thinking of this for a couple of reasons. One is that Les amoureux du francais, La Presse's handy language blog, discusses manquer today. (If you feel your French isn't quite up to snuff, as I do, I recommend subscribing to the RSS feed; it's quite comforting to read all the questions from pur laine Quebecois who are just as stymied as I am by some of the stranger quirks of the language.)

The other reason is that, while I'm having an exciting time here in London, I am of course missing many things: family, friends, home. But when I say "I miss home," it doesn't quite do justice to the feelings I'm having. It makes me think of some Jane Austen character staring out the window wistfully..

I kind of prefer the French construction: Canada me manque. It's like that: home is missing from me... It's not that I'm actively missing certain people and places all the time; it's just that those people and places are missing from me and my everyday life. I've been altered by my displacement and it's left me feeling like a chair missing the foot on one of my legs. I'm slightly off balance, rocking back and forth just a bit, looking for a matchbook to slide underneath...

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