In The Colonie (an extract: 60)

I don’t speak English. I don’t even speak the French I was taught. Shoes aren’t les chaussures here. They’re les goddesses, l’eau is la flotte, le vin is le pinard. My head is inside out; English used to be in deep and French outside. I’ve stopped translating. I don’t think ‘let’s go’ and turn it into on y va. On y va is all I’ve got. And it’s the same with j’en sais rien, moi, and n’y’en a plus and ca y est. I don’t know what the English is doing. I think it’s dying. The French is pushing it out of its seat in the middle where it thought it was safe. It thought it was in charge and now it isn’t.

Copyright: from In The Colonie (Penguin, 2005), copyright © Michael Rosen 2005, used by permission of the author

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Michael Rosen was born and brought up in London. He says his parents were people who loved jokes, stories and songs. His father used to ...

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