Welcome / Bienvenue / Benvinguts / Bienvenidos
For information about my translation services, please visit the main site.
Pour des informations sur mes services, merci de regarder le site principal.
Para información sobre mis servicios de traducción, visite el web principal.

Why do the French have to call ice creams “glaces”?

Absolutely scandalous! In France, they call ice cream glaces. Why can’t they just call it ice cream? And why do the Italians have to call it gelati? And as for Spain, well, if you go to Madrid you’ll have to ask for a bocadillo de queso, if you want what everyone else calls a cheese sandwich.

OK, now I know what you’re all thinking. I’m sounding like one of those little Englanders who thinks that everywhere in the world should be like England. This is not what I really think, but is simply an illustration of the attitude shown in TeleMadrid’s latest anti-Catalan report. Once you’ve opened the above link, have a look in particular at the second part of the report (from 1:25).

Here are a few quotes from the report:

“If we want to eat in a restaurant, here is El Recó del Bon Menjar, which means The Good Food Place, and a sandwich is called an entrepà.”
“Those who are from Cádiz or Huelva do have problems. Writing bocadillo is not the same as writing entrepà. Entrepà de formatge [cheese sandwich]: we call that a bocadillo de queso, don’t we?”
“This, for example, is a baker’s [in Spanish, panadería], yet the sign says forn de pa.”
“At the end of our holidays we understood that here we can buy fresh fruit…”. The sign says “fruita”, whereas in Spanish it would be “fruta”, so obviously there’s no way a Spanish-speaking person can work out what it means.


7 thoughts on “Why do the French have to call ice creams “glaces”?

  1. Sí, Tim, si fan cas al consells d’aquesta cadena, els espectadors potser acabaran amb la intel·ligència feta miques i tindran mooolta por de sortir de casa, si tot el que no és escrit en la seva llengua els agradeix i els fa sentir perduts… o tenen molt malament si van així pel món!

    M. Elena

  2. For some reason this reminds me of Steve Martin’s old monologue that begins “Boy, those French: they have a different word for EVERYTHING!” Boy, those Catalans….!

    I could almost understand the complaints from Spanish-speaking Spaniards if they were someplace where the signage was only in Basque (which has few cognates with Spanish). But really, if someone can’t figure out that “fruita” means “fruta” they probably shouldn’t be outside their homes without supervision.

  3. And the funniest over all is the numberous mistakes one can see in the report:


    I can’t imagine how wrong Catalans should write Spanish if they write their own language this way.

  4. Hi David

    I have found that Catalan people, in general, have much better Spanish than Catalan. Certainly better written Spanish. I’m sure people outside Catalonia find this difficult to believe, but it is true. I don’t think a day goes by without me seeing badly written Catalan somewhere.

  5. Hi Tim,

    I was ironic, simply kidding….

    Thanks for your reply. I wouldn’t like anybody get confused with my previous post :-)

  6. Back to that nice tv report, the funniest (?) thing for me was realizing that the journalist said those Catalan words with a perfect Catalan pronounciation (a Spanish-speaking person who is not familiar with Catalan language would never pronounce “gelat” that way) and that her name strongly suggests a Catalan background.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *