French Folk Joke:
“My 7th grade French class all took french. It was all our first year of french and I went to middle school with a bunch of people I ended up going to high school with so we all took a bunch of classes together. We had learned this joke that became an inside joke. It was the first French joke we ever learned. We would tell it to each other and share the reactions of the people we told the joke to with the rest of the class. So the joke is, ‘Comment s’appelle un chien qui vends des médicaments? Un pharmachienne.’ So it means, ‘What do you call a dog who sells medicine?’ The word chien is dog, so the answer is, you call it a mixture of pharmacy and dog. The word for pharmacist which I don’t know off the top of my head and then ‘chien’. ”
A middle school french class in Omaha, Nebraska.
The informant is 21, from Nebraska originally. She now resides in Southern California.
This play on words is a good way to get children to remember vocabulary. There are many words in french that sound almost identical to their english pronunciation. Hence, it is easy to remember those. However, the ones that don’t align with english pronunciation like ‘chien’ are so abstract that this little joke will help young students remember the vocabulary term. My informant said she does not remember any french, but she does remember this joke. So, clearly this was an effective learning mechanism.