I'm writing a short story where one of the main characters is an elderly gentleman born in France but has lived in the UK most of his life. He speaks perfect English but I want to have him use slightly odd versions of everyday expressions which betray his French heritage. I'm thinking that he speaks in English but uses a literal translation of the equivalent French idiom.
He MUST NOT appear stupid or comic by doing this so I want the terms to be quite subtle so that only some of my readers will even spot what he's done.
Edit: Following comments I'd like to clarify:
- They need not be actual phrases, even single words can work.
- They must be fairly normal day-to-day speech that would come-up in normal conversation
- It would be good if the original French version is "better" than the English — so the character has unconsciously rejected the English version as being nonsensical and has chosen to use a literal translation of the French version instead.