Like it Stinks, Joker Face, Chicken Bum

Remember that "Friends" Episode where phoebe tries to teach Joey to play the guitar and she refers to the chords by the things they make her hand look like?  "Iceberg"  and "Bear Claw" are B sharp and A respectively because, well, that's what her hands look like when she plays them.

My French textbook has become a similar exercise in association.  In my attempt to learn the different sounds and corresponding shape my mouth needs to make in order to produce those sounds, I have reverted to marking up my text with all manner of bizarre associations.  But at least I'm consistent.

"Like it Stinks" is always the sound like at the end of the word "Bleu"

"Joker Face" is the nasal vowel like in the indefinite pronoun "un" because that is the face you have to make to get it right.

"Chicken Bum" is the really ou-y u of "tu"

Chicken Bum?  When our proffeseur taught us to differentiate the French u from the English u (too) he said, and I quote

"I know ziz iz not vehry nice, but zyou 'ave to make your lips like a chicken's bum.  Like a circle all the way around."

And they say the French are unapproachable!


  1. Belated congratulations! I swore I left a comment ages ago, but I must have screwed up commenting...again...

    Sorry and can't wait to hear about life at post (realize it will be a bit)...and good luck w/French!


  2. You make me smile brooke. Whenever I hear people talking French I will look for like it stinks, joker face and chicken bum. Hope to see you soon.
    Love ya,

  3. That is too much. I love the "chicken bum" analogy your professor gave. Fantastic.

    I always appreciate a "Friends" reference. "You nailed the Old Lady!"