Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fermez la bouche

In my last post, I spoke of the idiom, "Sans ouvrir la bouche." The phrase in English translates as "without saying a word," but the French prefer to speak of the mouth, la bouche.

My grandmother was French. She was born in la petite ville de Lorraine Graffigny près de la forêt des Vosges. She did not teach me French, instead I had to learn the hard way, by going to school. But, I do remember the phrase, "Fermez la bouche,"  shut your mouth. If one says it gentiment, it almost sounds polite.

I am sitting in French class the other day when le prof starts to talk about professions. And she says, "le boucher," the butcher. It has nothing to do, I think, with la bouche, the mouth. It is just one of those silly coincidences that pop up in any language. Instead, le boucher stems from le bouchon, the pig.

It is just one of those silly things that makes a kid laugh.

C'est juste une de ces choses stupides. Il fait un gamin rire.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sans ouvrir la bouche

Sans ouvrir la bouche - without saying a word.

The Francophile likes to surf the web. On French TV, at BFMTV, he came across this article about the former (ancien) president of France, Nicholas Sarkosy.

"Sur Facebook, Sarkozy "occupe le terrain sans ouvrir la bouche."

Literally, the the sentence translates at "On Facebook, Sarkozy occupies the ground without opening the mouth." A better translation is "On Facebook, Sarkosy wins the day without saying a word."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tant Pis

Tant pis, (pronounced tan pee) can signify a range of emotions from "never mind" to "tough sh*t".

Voyez et écoutez Joyce Jonathan chante Tant pis:

From the lyrics and the refrain:

J'ai beau faire le tour du monde.
I am making a grand tour of the world
(or, I could make a trip around the world)

Mais tout me ramène à toi
But everything reminds me of you.

T'es partout à la fois 
You are everywhere at once

Il y a d'autres histoires d'amour qui n'attendent que moi
There are other loves that won't wait just for me

Mais tant pis
But tough sh*t (Never mind, Too bad)

C'est avec toi que je me sens 
It is with you that I am alive (feel)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Qui bien aime a tard oublie

Qui bien aime a tard oublie
J'aime française
This line, Qui bien aime a tard oublie, comes from Chaucer's Parlement of Foules, line 679, which best translates as,

"Who loves well later forgets." Perhaps expressing the notion that all love is fleeting.

The 700 stanza poem is famous for the first recorded mention of card giving on St. Valentine's Day, lines 309 and 310. Notice the French y and ne.
For this was on seynt Valentynes day,
Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make,

And in a launde (land), upon an hille of floures,
Was set this noble goddesse Nature;
Of braunches were hir (her) halles and hir boures (bowers),
Y-wrought (There wrought) after hir craft and hir mesure;
Ne ther nas foul that cometh of engendrure (engendered/created),
That they ne were prest(pressed) in hir presence,
To take hir doom and yeve (give) hir audience.

For this was on seynt Valentynes day, 
Whan every foul cometh ther to chese (choose) his make (mate),
Of every kinde, that men thenke may;
And that so huge a noyse gan they make,
That erthe and see, and tree, and every lake
So ful was, that unnethe(with difficulty) was ther space
For me to stonde (stand), so ful was al the place.

Et si vous ne connaissez pas, "I love you" in French is Je t'aime.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I don't know

Je sais pas.

On pourrait dire, "Je ne sais pas," mais Celine Dion chantais, "Je sais pas."

Faire du neuf avec du vieux

"Faire du neuf avec du vieux." Turn the old into the new.

Literally, make something new with something old.

Inspiration for this post came from ParisDailyPhoto. Maybe, you will want to check it out.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Get to work - mette au travail

As an informal command say, "Mette au travail."

Il faut que je mette qu travail maintenant pour que nous puissions jouer demain. 

It is necessary to get to work now so we can play tomorrow.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What's wrong?

Qu'est qu'il ya? Literally, "What is it?" but, also, "What is wrong?"

Watch the trailer for the movie Amour, 33 seconds in.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

à toutes les sauces

à toutes les sauces

Litterally, the phrase translates as "with all the sauces". Take the sentence, "Employer un mot à toutes les sauces." In  English, "Use a word very loosely."

Consider, "Les politiciens utilisent cette expression à toutes les sauces," which translates as "Politicians use this expression loosely."

Other funny French idioms.