Archive for the Category: French

Blue eyes and black butter

I discovered today that the French equivalent of a black eye is un œil au beurre noir (a black butter eye). It is also known as un œil poché au beurre noir (an eye poached in black butter) or un cocard (a rosette or lesion). According to L’Internaute.com, the expressions containing beurre noir date from […]

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Carrying coals to Newcastle

An idiomatic way to say a task is pointless is to say it’s like carrying coals to Newcastle – Newcastle, in the north east of England, used to be a major coal mining area. In French the equivalent is porter de l’eau à la rivière (to carry water to the river). In German they say […]

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Multilingual conversations

At the French conversation group I go to most weeks we usually stick to French most of the time, however when the leader of the group isn’t there or leaves early, as she did last week and the week before, we often switch to English and/or Welsh. Most members of the group speak Welsh, as […]

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One Person One Language (OPOL)

This post is based largely on an article by Francois Grosjean: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-bilingual/201504/one-person-one-language-and-bilingual-children One popular way to raise bilingual children is for each parent to speak only their native language with their children. For example the father will speak English and the mother will speak Spanish, and the children will acquire both languages. At first the […]

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Language, accents and tourism

I came across an interesting article today about ways to attract tourists with regional accents and languages. It discuses moves to encourage the use of French in parts of Canada and Louisiana, and Irish in Ireland, as well as regional accents in Newfoundland and in Skane in southern Sweden. People from the regions are promoting […]

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A banana regime

I discovered yesterday that the French equivalent of a bunch of bananas is un régime des bananes. Régime also means (political) regime, (administrative) system, (engine) speed/revs, and un régime alimentaire is a diet. Other French words for bunch include: – un bouquet de fleurs = a bunch of flowers – un trousseau de clés = […]

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Un sabot de Denver

I discovered yesterday that in French a wheel clamp is known as a sabot de Denver (“Denver hoof/clog/shoe/boot”), and wondered what Denver has to do with wheel clamps. On Wikipedia is explains that such devices were first used in Denver, Colorado, and are known as a wheel boot, parking boot or Denver boot in the […]

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French & English Language Exchange

I went to the French & English Language Exchange group in Liverpool last night – a friend found it on Meetup, decided to see what it was like, and asked me to come along. They meet twice a month at Thomas Rigby’s, a pub in the centre of Liverpool, and last night there were 30 […]

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Happy New Year!

Bloavezh mat / 新年快樂 / Blydhen Nowydh Da / Šťastný nový rok / Gelukkig Nieuwjaar / Happy New Year / Bonne année / Einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr / Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh / Felice anno nuovo / 新年おめでとうございます / Blein Vie Noa / Feliz Ano Novo / С Новым Годом / Bliadhna mhath […]

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Language acquisition

I spent Christmas with my family at my brother’s house in Devon in the south west of England. His daughter is now 20 months old and it’s fascinating to see how she’s acquiring language. The last time I saw her was at Easter this year when she was nearly a year old. At that time […]

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