Monday, April 26, 2010

French Word Girl Returns!

You may have thought I abandoned my superhero adventures in France, but, in reality, these daring efforts never stop.

I have a whole slew of new idioms and word usage to share, if you are ready. I know a list like this is probably boring – but I just need to write them all down….

Idioms:

We say:  Out of sight, out of mind

They say: Far from the eyes, far from the earth (Loin des yeux loin de la terre)

We say: It drives me crazy! or It’s too much!

They say: It’s too much! (C’est trop!) or I can’t have anymore of it. (Je n’en pouvait plus)

We say: Letting someone down

They say: Letting the world collapse (Laisser tout le monde tombe)

We say: There are lots of fish in the sea

They say: Lose one, find 10 (Perdre un, trouver dix)

We say: 15 minutes of fame

They say: One moment of glory (Un moment de gloire)

We say: I wouldn’t want to live in the spotlight.

They say: A happy life, is a hidden life. (Pour vivre heureux, vivant cachée)

We say:  I’m out of cash

They say: J’ai pas du fric

We say: Life is good

They say: It’s a wonderful world, isn’t it? (C’est du beau monde, hein?)

We say: This is awesome!

They say: This is crazy good! (C’est un bien fou)

We say: I’ll be right back or In a jiffy

They say: Tout suite or En moins de deux

We say: I can’t be bothered.

They say: I don’t have the courage. (Je n’ai pas le courage.)

We say: 5’o-clock shadow

They say: 3-day beard (Barbe a trois jours)

We say: Caught red-handed.

They say: Flagrantly illicit (En flagrance d’elicit) 

We say: Everyday concerns

They say: Worry quota (soucis quotite)

We refer to the first 10 years of this millennium as: ???? (No consensus that I know of)

They say: The years 20 hundred (Les anees vente cent)

We say: Can of worms

They say: Pandora’s box (Boite de Pandora)

When someone is being stupid about something (say dating) we say: That’s like, Dating 101!

They say:  That’s like B.A.B!  (C’est comme le B.A.B)  Apparently, that is supposed to mean it is as easy as saying the alphabet, but, of course, the alphabet would be ABC – not BAB – so maybe I’m still missing something.

We say: The plane is taxiing

They say: Its rolling down the strip (Il roule dans la piste)

We say: Sick and Tired

They say: Ras le bol

A Play on words: (these are tough for me)

If someone says: Qu’alors y faire?  to you the perfect response is “Calorifiere” 

What should I do?  Burn some calories (i.e. work harder)

Words:

We say: Bucks

They say: Tune

We say: Goosebumps (Brits say Gooseflesh)

They say: Chicken skin (Chair de poule)

We say: Affair

They say: Story of love (histoire d’amour)

We say: chicks and guys

They say: nanas and mecs

We say: Snack

They say: Bouffe

We say: Freckles

They say: Red stains (Tache dans rousseur)

We say: Tune up

They say: Revise (Une revision)

We say: half a pound or quarter pound

They say: une livre (500 g) or une demi-livre (250 grams)

At the end of a letter we say: Love, Best wishes, Sincerely or xoxo

They say: Amities, Bisous, Cordialement, Affecteuesement

We say: Snap

They say: Break the fingers (Casser les doigts)

We say: Kneel

They say: Fall on your knees (Tomber a genoux)

And my personal favorite:

We say: 6-pack abs

They say: bar of chocolate abs (tablet du chocolat) 

I like this one since neither a 6 pack nor a bar of chocolate is going to be a good way to get you to those abs of steel!

I hope you are enlightened and once again, more prepared to understand French slang.  Of course, I copied most of these down in class and my French spelling may be off – please forgive and comment to correct!

There is a new one everyday – so I’m sure there will be more to come.  Until then, French word girl is signing off…….

5 comments:

Marie said...

just to explain one thing : we say B.A.-BA, to say that's the base or that easy. And it's come from when you learn to speak at the begining : B + A = BA !
C'est un article amusant !
Bises.

Adeline said...

A few comments on your post:
- we don't say far from the eyes, far from the earth, but far from the eyes, far from the heart (loin des yeux, loin du coeur)
- we do say letting someone down too, and not letting the world collapse...tout le monde here means everyone, not the world...tricky French language!!!
- when you say C’est du beau monde, it means they're nice people (VIPs)...not that the world is beautiful.
- the affair is aventure in French...histoire d'amour is a love story

Adeline (who signed up again with I guess a new password!!!)

Anonymous said...

Hello, I really enjoy the comparison between the two languages !

Here, I'd like to bring some corrections - in a very humble way :)

Je n’en pouvais plus - with an "s" not a "t" to "pouvais" (imparfait première personne de "pouvoir")
Laisser tout le monde tomber - with an "r" at the end of "tomber"

We say: There are lots of fish in the sea
They say: Lose one, find 10 (Perdre un, trouver dix)

In French, in fact, it is : Un de perdu, dix de trouvés = One lost, 10 found

We say: I wouldn’t want to live in the spotlight.
They say: A happy life, is a hidden life. (Pour vivre heureux, vivant cachée)

In fact it is : Pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés


We say:  I’m out of cash
They say: J’ai pas du fric

You mean : "Je n'ai pas de fric" or "J'ai pas de fric" (fric = money in a familiar way)


We say: Life is good
They say: It’s a wonderful world, isn’t it? (C’est du beau monde, hein?)

It means : Quel monde merveilleux, n'est-ce pas ? (and not "C'est du beau monde, hein ?" translated rather like "These are nice, wealthy people")

We say: This is awesome!
They say: This is crazy good! (C’est un bien fou)

"This is crazy good" means literally : C'est follement bon (We would not say "C'est un bien fou" ; it sounds strange)
"This is awesome" means : C'est génial ! (That's really great)

We say: I’ll be right back or In a jiffy
They say: Tout suite or En moins de deux

It is Tout de suite or En moins de deux (secondes)

We say: 5’o-clock shadow
They say: 3-day beard (Barbe a trois jours)
It is : Barbe de trois jours

hila said...

(Part 2)
We say: Caught red-handed.
They say: Flagrantly illicit (En flagrance d’elicit) 

Not " En flagrance d’elicit" which does not mean anything at all and is not French, but "En flagrant délit"

We say: Everyday concerns
They say: Worry quota (soucis quotite)

Here again, "soucis quotite" does not mean anything at all and is not French.
It is : "soucis quotidiens" (meaning : daily concerns)

We refer to the first 10 years of this millennium as: ???? (No consensus that I know of)
They say: The years 20 hundred (Les anees vente cent)

Not " Les anees vente cent" which is not French
At least it would be "Les années vingt cent" correctly spelt, but I do not know such an expression in French... ? (because it means literally : "the years twenty hundred", but we do not say this in French)
Did you mean : Les années deux mille (The year two thousand) ?
We say : deux mille, deux mille un, deux mille deux, deux mille trois, and so on.


We say: Can of worms
They say: Pandora’s box (Boite de Pandora)

It is : Boîte de Pandore


When someone is being stupid about something (say dating) we say: That’s like, Dating 101!
They say:  That’s like B.A.B!  (C’est comme le B.A.B)  Apparently, that is supposed to mean it is as easy as saying the alphabet, but, of course, the alphabet would be ABC – not BAB – so maybe I’m still missing something.

In fact, it is not "B.A.B" but : "B. A. BA"
We say and pronounce the two letters separately "B" "A" and then we make (pronounce) the syllable "BA".
Because at school, to learn reading, we use the "syllabic method" (which is the base, the basic thing)
We say: The plane is taxiing
They say: Its rolling down the strip (Il roule dans la piste)

Il roule sur la piste

hila said...

(Part 3)

We say: Sick and Tired
They say: Ras le bol

A Play on words: (these are tough for me)
If someone says: Qu’alors y faire?  to you the perfect response is “Calorifiere” 
What should I do?  Burn some calories (i.e. work harder)

It is a pun, in fact.
We never say "Qu’alors y faire?"
We use it just to make the pun, but it is very awkward otherwise.
And the answer is "Calorifère".
The two are pronounced the same way ; that's the pun.
But I am not sure it does really mean anything...


Words:
We say: Bucks
They say: Tune

Or also with an "h" = "Thune"
It's like : fric, pognon, etc. (money - it's slang)

We say: Freckles
They say: Red stains (Tache dans rousseur)

It is : taches de rousseur (or sometimes : tache de son = bran stains)


We say: Snap
They say: Break the fingers (Casser les doigts)

"Casser les doigts" is rather : Break the fingers...
In fact "snap" is : Claquer des doigts - which is totally different.

We say: Kneel
They say: Fall on your knees (Tomber a genoux)

To kneel : s'agenouiller
To fall down on your knees : tomber à genoux


And my personal favorite:
We say: 6-pack abs
They say: bar of chocolate abs (tablet du chocolat) 

Tablette de chocolat

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