Yesterday I was at the local village pharmacy, chatting with the pharmacist.
“I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your mayor,” I said. Or rather, thought I said.
“I heard that your mayor died recently,”
He looked at me as if I was deranged.
“No,” he said. “My mother is very much alive.”
“I’m talking about your mayor – M. … His death was announced in the newspaper.”
“Oh, you mean Monsieur le maire!” he exclaimed.
How do you master a language where three different words with three different meanings are all pronounced identically?
Mère – mother
Maire – mayor
Mer – sea
All pronounced “mɛr”, according to Larousse.