Quaint French Expressions!

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Quaint French Expressions!


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Old 5th July 2010, 01:33 PM
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Here’s the scene:

My French wife is driving. She gets behind some septuagenarian driving like a herd of turtles. My wife, who drives like she’s doing the final lap at Le Mans, let’s out with one of her favorite expressions, “achetez un âne” (Buy a donkey!).


I’m thinking, since the French are so fond of language, they surely must have hundreds of colorful expressions such as the example above that you’ll never hear at the Berlitz Language School.

When I was in Germany, the word “Geil” (cool, great) was in vogue among the young people.. If something was supercool, the term “Sau-geil”, was applied. Sau is pronounced the same as sow in English and has the same meaning. It should be explained that the Germans have a special fondness for pigs and if one has “schwein”, one has had a streak of good fortune. ( I'm hoping Germany wins the World Cup).

Since I’m always looking to expand my French language horizens, I’d be interested in learning some more of these colorful quaint expressions. What are your favorites?

Merci - Jeff

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Old 5th July 2010, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Coton90 View Post
Here’s the scene:
Since I’m always looking to expand my French language horizens, I’d be interested in learning some more of these colorful quaint expressions. What are your favorites?

Merci - Jeff
You may want to look at this site Les expressions françaises décortiquées - Accueil

You can just browse or you can register, in which case you can post things (I sometimes offer English equivalent expressions) or sign up for the weekly roundup e-mail.

I just love the site.

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Old 5th July 2010, 02:10 PM
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What really would have been interesting would have been to include what "sau geil" literally means. ;-)

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Old 5th July 2010, 02:26 PM
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Thanks for the site Claire. I'll check it out in detail. I did notice that the expression "avoir du sex appeal" was included. More of our English expressions creeping in.

And while were on that topic Leo, while the word "geil" does mean horny, the kids in Germany were using it as a synonym for cool. In fact, the appliance chain Saturn, used the term as part of their advertising; "Saturn ist Geil". The morale of the story is, word meanings change over time. Thanks for pointing that out.

Cheers - Jeff

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Old 5th July 2010, 05:57 PM
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I still get a kick out of the name for the official traffic monitoring agency here in France: Bison futé - literally "the clever bison."
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 5th July 2010, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Bevdeforges View Post
I still get a kick out of the name for the official traffic monitoring agency here in France: Bison futé - literally "the clever bison."
Cheers,
Bev
I suppose the name comes from bison being clever in knowing the best route to take. To tell the truth, I haven't seen any bison around here. That's because the last wild one in France was killed in the 8th century (Google wisent). What I'd like to know is if they were so clever, how come they're all extinct?

I did actually see a small herd of them in Germany near Kaiserslautern being raised on a farm. I thought they were American bison or buffalo; now I know they were wisent (not sure what the English plural is).

Today's trivia. The name "buffalo" for the American Bison was coined by French trappers and comes from the French word "boeuf". The French have a tendency to name domestic animals once they are on the plate (pig/porc, sheep/mouton, etc.)

Cheers, Jeff

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Old 15th July 2010, 08:56 AM
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Whilst on the topic of foreign words, can anyone please explain what a "preservatif" is supposed to preserve ?

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Old 15th July 2010, 09:03 AM
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Often embarrassingly confused... the term English-speakers are often trying to translate, in cookery terms, is preservative - which is conservateur in French, not préservatif (condom!!)...

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Old 15th July 2010, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Coton90 View Post
I suppose the name comes from bison being clever in knowing the best route to take. To tell the truth, I haven't seen any bison around here. That's because the last wild one in France was killed in the 8th century (Google wisent). What I'd like to know is if they were so clever, how come they're all extinct?

I did actually see a small herd of them in Germany near Kaiserslautern being raised on a farm. I thought they were American bison or buffalo; now I know they were wisent (not sure what the English plural is).
The name actually came from the parallel with Native Americans and their tracking abilities, according to the Bison Futé site!

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L’objectif est d’incarner l’information routière et de la rendre dynamique et sympathique. C’est pourquoi la mascotte doit être identifiable par tous. Les hésitations sont passées sur le dauphin, vif et intelligent, la girafe, « Ginette », sensée dominer la situation, un oiseau « Timothée voit loin » avec de grosses jumelles, une tortue, un lapin, le rat des villes et le rat des champs… Mais c’est l’indien qui s’est imposé car il répond parfaitement aux préoccupations qui sont les nôtres : illustration du meilleur pisteur sur les itinéraires bis. Indien subtil, sioux, adroit, débrouillard, en un mot « futé ». L’opération est un grand succès. Dès les premiers tam-tams et les conseils donnés, la réaction des automobilistes est très positive. Tout le monde se sent Bison Futé.

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Old 15th July 2010, 10:28 AM
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The name actually came from the parallel with Native Americans and their tracking abilities, according to the Bison Futé site!
Perhaps they should have named it the "Sioux Fute" as the bison isn't the one demonstrating cleverness . Indians have been used as symbols before. In the First World War, the American volunteer Lafayette Escadrille used the Indian Chief head as the squadron's emblem and painted it on their aircraft as a symbol of bravery and ferocity. In heraldry, they used to use the Moor's Head to symbolize these attributes.

"Whilst on the topic of foreign words, can anyone please explain what a "preservatif" is supposed to preserve ?

The preservatif is of course preserving the state of non-pregnancy!

OK....I'll stop. Jeff

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