24 Mar

English words used in French: C’est too much!

Take a look at this segment of this French TV show in which this French talk-show somewhat copied David Letterman’s Top 10 list. At 11 minutes and 40 seconds, they talk about how the French press and media altogether are letting way too many English words enter our language: interesting AND funny.
Link to French TV show

27 Feb

Math teacher arrested for carrying weapons of math instruction

I thought this was a pretty funny story…

Teacher Arrested At London Heathrow Airport – held in isolation.

A secondary school teacher was arrested today at London’s Heathrow
International airport as he attempted to board an international flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a pair of compasses, a slide-rule and a calculator.

At a press conference, a UK Border Control spokesman said he believes the man is a member of the notorious extremist Al-Gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the Police with carrying weapons of maths instruction.

‘Al-Gebra is a problem for us’, the Spokesman said. ‘They derive solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values.’ They use secret code names like “X” and “Y” and refer to themselves as “unknowns;” but we have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philosopher Isosceles used to say, “There are three sides to every triangle.”

When asked to comment on the arrest, Opposition Leader Ed Milliband said,”If God had wanted us to have better weapons of maths instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes.” Fellow Labour colleagues told reporters
they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the
Opposition Leader.

29 Jan

More Canadian expressions

Here are more differences between French French and Canadian French:

– In Quebec, “écouter” means both “to listen” AND “to watch”. Very strange for a Frenchman or woman to hear someone ask: “Did you listen to the movie last night?”

– “It’s fun!” that I would translate by “C’est sympa”, that the younger generation might translate by “C’est fun” is “C’est le fun” pronounced “C’est l’fun!” in Quebec.

– Talking about a baby for instance, if you want to say: “She’s so cute!”, the French would say: “Elle est trop mignonne!” which in Quebec, they would say: “Elle est b(i)en cute!” (they don’t say the “i” in “bien”).

– To say: “I sucked at math when I was a kid”, the French would say: “J’étais nul en maths quand j’étais petit.” In Quebec, they would say: “J’étais pourri en maths quand j’étais petit.” which to us French people sounds like “I was rotten at math when I was a kid…” strange…

– One that I find very cute, just like in English, we can avoid swearing by using similar words. In English, people say: “Shoot!…”. In France, we can say “Zut!” or “Flute!”. Well, in Quebec, they say both at the same time: “Zut de flute!” I think it’s funny. I like that.

– In French French, the word for “a place” is “un endroit”. In Quebec, they call it “une place” which to us means “a plaza”.

– Canadians also have the word “supposément” for “supposedly” while the French would say “soit-disant”.

– I also love the Canadian meaning of “écoeurant”, which in France means “disgusting”. In Canada, it means “awesome/great”.

– To say: “right now”, or “lately”, the French would say “en ce moment”. In Canada, they say “présentement”.

20 Dec

Canadian French vs French from France part 1

Bonjour à tous,

I have been teaching French for over 10 years, and I have met people from all around the globe. One of the most fascinating things for me, as a linguist, is the differences that time and distance have created in languages such as French, English & Spanish. I would like to share some of my findings with you in regards to the difference between French from France, and French from Canada.

– « Viens me donner un bec! » Which, for Canadians, means “Come give me a kiss!”, but for a French person, it means: “Come give me a beak!”. Yet we can recognize some similarity with our expression “Donne-moi un bécot!” which means “Give me a kiss!”

– As you may know, the French word for “corn” is “maïs”, but in Canada, it is called “blé d’Inde” in a certain dish. In French, “watermelon” is called “pastèque”, but Canadians decided to translate it word for word from English: “melon d’eau”.

– The following one is typically Canadian. The same way you would talk about 100 “bucks” in American English or 100 “quids” in England, Canadians talk about 100 “piastres” (the “tr” are not pronounced), which makes it sound like 100 “piasses”.

– In France, in order to say “Watch out for…” we would use “Fais gaffe à…” (colloquial), but in Canada, they say: “Fais gare à…” The French would only use the old-fashioned expression: “Gare à toi si…” meaning “Be carefully if…”

– In Canada, they would use the word “pacté” for “drunk”. It would make no sense in France.

– Talking about “making sense”, the French would say: “Ca n’a pas de sense” to say “It doesn’t make sense”. Canadians have an expression that the French would never understand in a million years: “Ca n’a pas d’allure” Given that the word “allure” means “look/appearance”, THAT makes no sense!

If you’re looking for a French tutor in Los Angeles or online, go to http://www.monprofesseur.org. I also offer French lessons online for groups, for adults as well as for homeschoolers.

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