Monday, December 29, 2003

French Word of the Day December 2003

Sent: Friday, December 19, 2003 10:55 AM

Joyeux Noël, Bonne Année et Bonne Santé à tous!!!

Will be back on 1/5...

Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2003 8:14 AM

(une) roue = a wheel

être en roue libre = to be freewheeling

être la cinquième (or dernière) roue du carrosse (or de la charrette) = to be superfluous (literally: to be the 5th/last wheel of the carriage)

Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2003 10:04 AM

un = one

Some expressions with un:

s'en jeter un (derrière la cravate) = to knock back a drink (literally: "to throw a drink behind one's tie" :-)

être comme pas un/une = to be extremely / to be the greatest + adjective

E.g. Il est menteur comme pas un = he's the greatest liar

elle est fière comme pas une = she's extremely proud

un pour tous et tous pour un = all for one and one for all

Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2003 8:37 AM

tranquille (pronounced "trankil") = quiet, calm, relaxed

E.g. avoir la conscience tranquille = to have a clear conscience

Used a lot these days as a synonym for "cool".

E.g. Eh tranquille hein ! = Hey stay cool!

Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2003 2:35 PM

Subject: RE: French artists of the day

A little dive into 90's French hard rock/fusion:

Noir Désir (Noir Dez'): already mentioned here, clearly one of the most preeminent French rock the time, and maybe ever. Bound to achieve legendary status, now that their singer is about to spend the rest of his life in a Lithuanian jail cell.

Mass Hysteria: again, already mentioned here. Fusion.

[no one is innocent] (No One): underrated one-hit wonder (La Peau) - only two albums, but definitely worth checking out

Lofofora (Lofo'): hard rock band named after a Mexican hallucinogenic cactus :-|

Silmarils: (Mackina, Cours vite)

Bérurier Noir (Béru): (Salut à toi)

One common characteristic is that beyond a hard sound ("music to kill kittens to", some would say), all these bands convey a message of fraternity and tolerance.

Du Grand Canyon au Yemen

Et la peau est la même

- [no one is innocent] - La Peau

Sent: Friday, December 12, 2003 7:22 AM

And now, a warning about possible mix-ups involving yesterday's word "sain" which sounds exactly like:

(un) saint = a saint (the 't' is silent)

(un) sein = a breast

E.g. je ne sais plus à quel saint me vouer = I don't know which way to turn (literally "I don't know to which Saint I should dedicate myself")

This is obviously an endless source of puns and bad jokes. This requires an example:

Une très belle femme se promène avec deux chiens blancs énormes et magnifiques.

Un petit garçon passe par là, s'arrête net devant ces chiens et, la bouche ouverte, reste en admiration pendant un long moment devant les animaux.

La dame lui demande : "tu veux caresser mes gros Saint-Bernard ?"

Le petit répond : "oui, mais moi, c'est Nicolas, pas Bernard. "

Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2003 8:57 AM

sain / saine = healthy


un esprit sain dans un corps sain = a healthy mind in a healthy body

sain d'esprit = sane

sain et sauf = safe and sound

Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2003 8:29 AM

Another round of faux-amis, this time the other way around. Translate into French:

to propose: [LM] well actually "to propose" in the sense of "to suggest" nicely translates to "proposer". To propose marriage translates to "demander en mariage"

the chair: [LM] (une) chaise [(la) chair means flesh]

a coin: [LM] une pièce de monnaie, or more simply une pièce [(un) coin is a corner]

college: [LM] (une) université. [(le) collège means junior high school]

Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2003 8:29 AM

(une) queue = a tail / a (waiting) line / a queue / a (billiards) cue

cette histoire n'a ni queue ni tête = this story makes no sense (literally: "this story has neither head nor tail")

faire la queue = to wait in line

Sent: Monday, December 08, 2003 8:30 AM

(le) monde = world

tout le monde = everybody

monsieur Tout-le-Monde = the man in the street / John Doe

And then most of the English expressions translate pretty well:

mettre un enfant au monde = to bring a child into the world

c'est le monde a l'envers! = the world's turned upside down!

Sent: Friday, December 05, 2003 9:09 AM

The following are titles of American movies, as they were translated for their release in France. Can you figure out the title of the original movie ?

Piège de cristal (literally: "Crystal trap") [LM] Die Hard

58 minutes pour vivre (literally: "58 minutes to live") [LM] Die Hard II

Une journée en enfer (literally: "A day in hell") [LM] Die Hard III

Arnaques, crimes et botanique (literally: "Swindles, crimes and botany") [LM] Lock, Stock and two smoking barrels

Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 8:33 AM

(un) cancre = a dunce

(un) bonnet d'âne = a dunce's cap (literally: a donkey hat)


Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 8:22 AM

Subject: RE: French artist of the day

A little underground French music today, with Ukrainian immigrant Vitalic, who traded traditional ukrainian instruments for electronic ones after he fled his home country when the Berlin wall fell:

Hard to find, except on some compilations (

Try La Rock, Pony part 1 or You are my high.

Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2003 8:03 AM

(une) cape = a cape

(une) épée = a sword

(une) botte = a boot

un film de cape et d'épée = a swashbuckler movie

une botte secrète = a secret trick. Originally referred to a secret weapon (e.g. dagger) hidden inside a musketeer's boot, and taken out during a fight to surprise the opponent. Since I didn't bother checking this, I may be completely wrong though.

Sent: Monday, December 01, 2003 8:55 AM

(un) hold-up = a hold-up

This is not (only) out of laziness, but mostly to celebrate PSG's surprise last-minute victory against archrival Marseille this week-end: "Le hold-up du PSG a Marseille" would be a typical news headline in sports newspapers this morning.