Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Joyeuses Fêtes!

As usual, now is the time to go over how to wish your French-speaking friends a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year:

Joyeux Noël! = Merry Christmas!

Bonne Année! = Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Following on

Some interesting expressions using our last word, chou
  • bête comme chou = really easy (literally stupid like cabbage)
  • faire chou blanc = to draw a blank (literally to make white cabbage, whatever that means)
  • faire ses choux gras (de quelquechose) = to use something to one's advantage. Often used when referring to the media (e.g. tabloids)
  • être dans les choux = to bring up the rear (literally to be in cabbage)
  • aller planter ses choux ailleurs = to go to pastures new (literally to go plant one's cabbage elsewhere)
  • rentrer dans le chou de quelqu'un = to beat someone up (literally to rush into one's cabbage), or, if verbally, to give someone a piece of one's mind.


First, an interesting addition to the last French word: la redevance means, in general, charge/tax/license, but is mostly used in "la redevance télé", a French tax on television sets.

Now on to today's word. un chou = cabbage, as in:
  • soupe aux choux = cabbage soup (also happens to be the title of a famous 80's comedy. The IMDB summary says it all "Two buddy farmers are visited by aliens who like their domestic cabbage soup")
  • chou farci = stuffed cabbage
  • chou de Bruxelles = Brussels sprout
  • chou à la crème = cream puff
Also an affectionate term meaning dear, darling:
  • tu es un chou = you're a little darling
  • mon chou = my darling
  • which can also be used as an adjective meaning sweet, cute: elle est chou avec son chapeau = she looks so cute in her hat
le chouchou (la chouchoute) means either:
  • someone's darling, favorite, e.g. le chouchou du professeur = the teacher's pet
  • a scrunchie

Monday, December 18, 2006

Les impôts

les impôts = taxes

Of course, it would be too long to list all the types of taxes that exist in France. Just a few:
  • impôt sur les bénéfices = corporation tax
  • impôt foncier = property tax
  • impôt sur la fortune = wealth tax
  • impôts locaux = local taxes
  • impôt sur le revenu = income tax

Today, however, there are good news regarding taxes in France. In case anyone is interested in moving there, 2008 might be a quite unusual tax-free year

Thursday, December 14, 2006


un rappel =
1. a reminder. E.g.
un rappel amical = a friendly reminder
un dernier rappel = a final reminder
recevoir un rappel = to receive a reminder

2. A call to come back
E.g. in show business, un rappel is an encore / a curtain call
il a reçu trois rappels = he took three curtain calls
Other example: un rappel a l'ordre = a call to order

3. descendre en rappel = to rappel (for US folks), to abseil (for UK folks)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Some slang today:
nase = shattered, broken, useless, both literally and figuratively.

mon stylo est complètement nase = my pen has had it
c'est nase ce film! = this movie sucks!

Friday, December 08, 2006

La télé

la télévision = television (rather unsurprisingly). We abbreviate it to "télé".

je regarde la télé = I watch TV
un plateau télé = a TV dinner

In other French news, this Wednesday marked the launch of France24, a trilingual (French-English-Arabic) news channel that promises to offer the French point of view on world events.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


pousser = to push

Obviously, a lot of applications of this word, so I'll just throw in a couple of examples:
tu m'as poussé! = you pushed me!
faut pas pousser = don't overdo it, don't exagerate
à la va comme je te pousse = any old how. Literally, "going as I push you"
un pousse-café = an after-dinner liqueur
un pousse-pousse = a rickshaw