As you might recall, my double-yellow-headed Amazon parrot, Kazoo, came to me at the age of 13 from a Francophone family. Although she has a fairly limited vocabulary, she’s a very, very expressive bird. She can say Hello like a harried mother, or like a kid getting home from school, or like a sultry sex worker. She has the most contagious human belly laugh ever. She has this phrase she shouts when she doesn’t want us to leave the house. I have no idea what the words are, but it’s the same every time and she sounds like an indignant little kid bursting in from outdoors, yelling about how something isn’t fair.
And then she has this phrase that she only says when we have company – and she says it every single time we have company. The intonation is a question, and the phrase is spoken quietly, in a dignified voice. It sounds like this: “I err?” or “Eye air?” with the emphasis on the second word. I’m hoping one of you Francophones might be able to translate that for us.