Archive for the Category: French

Take the frog and run!

Yesterday I came across the interesting French word grenouiller, which literally means “to frog” and actually means “to indulge in shady dealings”, and seems to refer specifically to political intrigues, according to Le Dictionnaire. A related expression is manger / bouffer la grenouille (literally, “to eat the frog”) = to scoop the till; to clean […]

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La plume de ma tante

I wrote a new song last week based on the phrase ‘la plume de ma tante‘ (My aunt’s quill/pen/feather). This phrase cropped up in a conversation I had with friends a few weeks ago when we were talking about learning languages, and how languages are taught. According to Wikipedia this phrase possibly appeared in French […]

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Polyglot Gathering Berlin 2015

I got back from the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin about an hour ago. I took the train all the way from Berlin to Bangor, via Cologne, Brussels, London, Crewe and Chester, leaving Berlin just before 7am this morning, and arriving in Bangor just after 9pm this evening. On the way there I also travelled by […]

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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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