Sunday, September 11, 2011

Linguistic Eccentricities

It's well known that the French are proud of their language
and seem to resent when foreigners speak it with an atrocious accent. Think of the French expression "To speak French like a Spanish cow", I suspect that the idea is to insult the Spaniard. I love the sounds of French words even
when their meaning isn't. They call the garbage poubelle
and the skunk mouffette. Some of their sayings are very colourful. The French idiom for "Let's get back to the point (subject) is "Revenons à nos moutons" (let's get back to our sheep), or a more colourful phrase "Accordesz vos violons" for " Get your act toghether."
The French seem to rhyme their sayings more than we do.
Think of À bon chat, bon rat (tit for tat), or Mieux vaut sagesse que richesse (wisdom is worth more than wealth) or Vouloir c'est pouvoir (to wish is to be able) "where there is a will there is a way."
I still can't get over this beautiful phrase Entre chien et loup (between dog and wolf) for the English "Twilight" or "at dusk". This indicates the time of the day when one can't distinguish  between a dog and a wolf.
When a French man feels he's been made "the goat" or "the laughing stock" he says"Etre le dindon de la farce"
( to be the turkey of the farce).  If a French person tells you that you have "un cœur d'artichaut"
 ( an artichoke heart) it means that you fall in love with every pretty face that passes  by, you lover boy!
 Perhaps this explains Mona Lise's  bemused smile. As if  she knew what was coming.


  1. I like this, Anthony! It reminds me that the eccentricities of language are very entertaining.

  2. Anthony, long time no see, your article is very interesting! Thanks, Elena Negron