Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Things they don't teach you in French class

...How to understand (or reproduce) French handwriting. Below is a password a colleague wrote down for me. Perhaps I shouldn't be posting passwords on the internet, but seriously, if any of you want to figure out how to hack into the admin interface of the local-host version of our Theses and Dissertations Database, please just do some indexing while you're there. We is Dublin HARDcore, bitches! (Ah, library jokes, the best of all. PS Even for a library joke that one was stupid and didn't make a lot of sense, even if you know what Dublin Core is, which you probably don't... I promise not to make any more, or to pretend I can pull off saying 'we is' or 'hardcore' or 'bitches'.)

ANYWAY... I've been in the habit of writing 7s with lines through them for a long time, since I used to write a lot of barcodes out by hand in an old library job & my 7s ended up looking like 2s. Here, though, their 1s look like 7s (without the bar).

I often end up writing 1s as just a line and then going back and adding the little tail they have here later (curse you, 2011!), but there are plenty of other weird differences that always trip me up, and presumably cause problems for French people when they try to read my handwriting. (My name on my Monoprix loyalty card, for example, has an extra E and L in it, and I'm always getting an O tacked on to the end of my name as well. And the birth date they have down for me is wrong, but I don't know how, so I can't actually use my loyalty points. Quel scam!)

It took me about 5 goes to decrypt this, and that was after having typed it in the day before (with my colleague reading it out to me).

What do you think this says??

Oh, and remember my awesome pun about the cardboard boxes - ça cartonne? Of course you do, you've only just managed to stop laughing about it and I'm going to go and set you off again - and on top of that, you're already in fits over my awesome Dublin Core joke. Sorry!

Well, the 'happening' was written up in one of the local rags, but they missed a trick! Someone give me a job as a French journo, tout de suite!

PS I have just remembered that Jennie en France did a post on handwriting differences several months ago. And I saw it, and I commented on it. Never mind though, she has quite a different blogging style from me, so other than the general subject I don't think our posts have that much in common, so feel free to enjoy them both. Or if sensible and informative is your style just read hers, but TOO LATE, you already got this far with mine! Muhaha


  1. 3789xm45
    600 lange JPE6

    Where is the 1? (Oh, seeing the figure one typed here, I realise that it is nearly identical to the "L" in lange above, so is that it???)

  2. Buzz! If I remember correctly, you have made 4 mistakes!

    Sorry, there was no 1 there, I was just making a general remark. I'll put a photo of a 1 up for you.

  3. Muh.aha indeed! To paraphrase WSC never has so much drivel been spouted by so few

  4. Oh that's tough! I would say 3789xm45
    600 large JPEG

    The French often think my 6's are 4's since they tend to look like the 4 in this picture.

  5. 3789xn45
    600 large JPEG

    french "x" used to really confuse me!

  6. MilkJam - closest so far but no cigar!

    Ksam - I've had issues with mistaking 4s for 6s as well in the past.

    It was actually (drumroll please)

    600 large JPEG (obviously that part was not the password)

    The z and the n tripped me up and then once I got it wrong a couple of times I started thinking the 9 might be a g as well, so threw that into the mix as well!

  7. seriously? a Z???? knowing it was a password I would have written out a lowercase "z" to avoid any confusion - that totally looks like a 3!


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