Oink?

The very young witch found it terribly amusing that when the French count, they go eight-oink-ten. If you’re OK with a bilingual example not featuring any French at all, that is?

As native English-speaker Keith Moore, married to a Swede, discovered, Old McDonald is not only called Per Olsson, but his pigs go nöff-nöff. Or they do, if you are bringing your baby up to speak Swedish.

It’s tricky, this bilingual business.

I’m not all that sure I know what pigs sound like. They grunt, don’t they? Both nöff and oink are a little wrong. Luckily some animals sound much more like their European neighbours, and as long as we don’t get involved in actual spelling, a mjau is as good as a meow. Same with mu and moo, and [almost] vov and woof.

See, I’m bilingual in animal as well!

That same young witch happily repeated what others at school taught her, with no grammatical feel for what makes English correct, when they said ‘I buy pink sheet.’ This was a way of ‘speaking English’ while also covering three ‘Swedish’ toilet-based words.

But I continue to feel sorry for the French who go oink every so often.

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