Tag Archives: action

C’est ce qu’on appelle…

28 Jan

…être dans de beaux draps (litterally, “to find oneself in some pretty – ironic tone – sheets!”…you said, what??)!

Baby G in some deep/pretty sheets... :)

Baby G in some deep sheet… 🙂

être dans de beaux draps

English:

(idiomatic) To be up the creek without a paddle; be in trouble; be in a pickle; be in a spot of bother.

Etymology: white sheets worn for the atonement of one’s sins. (Source: Wiktionnaire)

To be in a right fix/mess (Source: Le Grand Robert & Collins) Lire la suite

Le mot du travail: « to work out »

30 Juil

I find that when my workday of interpreting stressful  (yet fulfilling) phone calls, translating tricky terminology, billing projects and bidding on new ones is over… I am ready to let my brain rest and to get my body working!

I could assimilate all the knowledge and wisdom in the world (if only I had a brain large enough to memorize every bit of information that matters!), but it would not lead anywhere if meanwhile, my body was deprived of any challenge or care. Sure, I could go to the gym and run around in circles like a lab rat (or worse, at a standstill!), or go to my man’s basement and try myself at bodybuilding (and I have before!)…

Woman deadlifting (not me!)

… Whatever physical activity I pick, it has to be fun! But first, let’s review how to express working out in French: Lire la suite

Le mot d’action : « patienter »

28 Fév
Français : Voted customer service of the year ...

Image via Wikipedia

Eng – Sir, I need to do some research on your case. Would you mind holding a few minutes for me? Please hold!

Fr – Monsieur, je dois effectuer quelques recherches sur votre dossier. Pourriez-vous patienter en ligne quelques minutes ? Ne quittez pas !

In customer service, using proper etiquette and “formes de politesse” is essential. Lire la suite

Le mot d’action : « Ne pas être sorti de l’auberge »

21 Fév

I have another 45 minutes of calls (my last one turned me into a nerve wreck, because it was about a baby who was turning blue and could not breathe, and we had to tell mom to call 911!), my blog post for the day is not up yet, I have 2000 more words to translate as soon as possible, I have started my translation class and the exercise, but I still have a guest post to write in English for another blog and I am past the deadline… But also, it was my birthday yesterday, and my husband and I are celebrating with a romantic date tonight, at a French restaurant 1h30 from here. I want to make myself pretty and have a nice manicure, but only one hand is painted. Right, I am so not out of the woods yet!! Lire la suite

♥ Le mot d’action : « un geste d’amour » ♥

14 Fév

Un regard, une étreinte, un touché, un baiser,
Des paroles et des gestes d’amour toute l’année ;
Bien plus que des chocolats ou quelques fleurs à la St-Valentin,
Ce sont ces gestes qui ravivent l’amour, chaque matin
Chaque jour, chaque soir et pour toujours
C’est ça le secret d’un éternel amour.

~ Nadia Price, mariée depuis 10 ans

It does not quite rhyme I know…  I am no poet, just a translator-interpreter-blogger. However, on Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share the key to everlasting love ♥, in my book. Lire la suite

Le mot d’action : « embrasser »

7 Fév

Etymology: The prefix “en-” means to “put inside” and “bras” means “arms” in French…  So literally, “to put between one’s arms”.

// Embrasser // First group verb: to embrace, to hug; by extension: to kiss; figuratively: to encompass

First Lady of France Carla Bruni greets U.S. President Barack Obama

Lire la suite

Expressing a long action with « pendant »

31 Jan
Amber pendants made of modified amber. The ova...
Image via Wikipedia

How confusing is it, that « pendant » can mean a lot of different things in our 2 languages… Another faux-ami, which testifies to the constant intermingling and « love affair » between French and English:

// pendant // French adverb: during, over, throughout (expressing a duration of time)
// pendant // French present participle of « pendre »: hanging
// pendant // French masculine noun: counterpart, equivalent, matching.
// pendant // English noun: A piece of jewelery which hangs down as an ornament, especially worn on a chain around the neck. French: « le pendentif », however, we do say « un pendant d’oreille » for a long, hanging earring.

Now that we have resolved this pending matter, let’s learn to express a long duration, interrupted or supplemented by a short action…

Usage:

Pendant que je mange mon dîner, j’aime bien discuter de choses et d’autres avec ma famille. // While I eat my dinner, I like to talk about things with my family.

J’ai appris l’allemand à l’école pendant 9 ans, et pourtant, j’ai toujours encore du mal à le parler. // I learned/ learnt German in school for 9 years, however, I still have a hard time speaking it.

Les enfants n’arrêtent pas de crier pendant que j’essaie de rédiger un rapport. // The children keep shouting while I am trying to write up a report.

Je fais de mon mieux pour m’occuper des corvées quotidiennes pendant mes pauses de travail. // I do my best to take care of my daily chores during my breaks from work.

Pendant que nous dormions, tout à coup, nous entendîmes un chien aboyer juste devant notre porte. // While we were sleeping, all of a sudden, we heard a dog barking right in front of our door.

I hope I was able to clarify this word for you, at least a little bit…

Maybe you can use « pendant » in a French sentence, and tell us what you enjoy doing « pendant les vacances d’hiver »: any skiing, ice-skating, trip to the mountains planned with the family?

Bon mardi!

Les onomatopées… « aïe!! »

24 Jan

Firstly, the Merriam-Webster definition:

ONOMATOPOEIA

1: the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (as buzz, hiss)
2: the use of words whose sound suggests the sense
You know what they are, dear readers… These little sounds that we all make daily, whether we are expressing exctasy and anticipation upon being presented with a delicious, mouth-watering dessert (yum!! in English, or miam!! in French) or disgust when our sense of modesty or manners (savoir-vivre) has been challenged (yuk!! in English, or beurk!! in French).

Credits: Uderzo

I was reminded of these little interjections today, as I was reading a raving review of the new book « Les trucs d’anglais qu’on a oublié de vous enseigner » by Grant Hamilton, on the blog Le mot juste en anglais. I have myself been immersed in the American-English language for so many years (I think 10…), that I don’t even realize how « native » I have gone…

The beautiful thing about becoming bilingual, is that you instinctively switch the way your express yourself, your sounds, your intonation, even your body language from one language « set of rules » to the other!
After my first full-year immersion in the USA (I was 18 and worked as an au pair in South Carolina), I experienced the « reverse culture shock » when I returned to Strasbourg, France, to start my language studies. What was very strange, was that when I started classes the other students were convinced I was American!
They would come up to me and introduce themselves in English: « You are ze Américaine, right? ». I would reply in French, explain that I just came back from 1 year in the US but that I was from a village 60 km South of here… only to realize that my intonation in French had not quite yet returned to normal.
onomatopoeia

Image by sekundo via Flickr

But rest assured, dear French-learners… the balance comes back. You eventually truly switch everything, and you start sounding « native » in both languages. So when I speak English, or even if I speak French to my American husband (which we have only done for 1 year now) but I am located in the USA, I say « ouch!! » when it hurts, « darn!! » when I am upset, « bang!! » when I talk about a door shutting.
But, when I speak French, or I am talking to a Francophone, I say « aïe!! » (or aï-eeeeeuh when it really hurts!), « zut!! », « boum!! » respectively.
So you will know when the French language has become like a second skin to your whole body, not just your tongue, when you start reacting with these fun onomatopoeia. The best way to learn them: read some Tintin or Astérix et Obélix comic strips books, and you will be all set!

Le mot d’action : « Ne quittez pas ! »

17 Jan

Bonjour!

Are you ever in a situation on the phone, in which you have a French-speaking caller on the line and you can’t understand each other at all? Or you are calling a place of business in Canada or Morocco, and you did not expect that the person on the other line would not speak a word of English?

Source: languageline.com

This is a situation that my clients deal with all the time, and that is when they call an interpreter at Language Line to help overcome the language barrier… But here is a very important expression to use in that situation:

// Ne quittez pas ! // Please hold!

I have even learned to say this in Spanish, because so often when I introduce myself as the French interpreter, I hear: « No francés… I need e-spanish!! ». I learned to say: « No cuelgue por favor! » (Please hold)… « Buscamos un intérprete de español. ¡Un momento, Señora! » (We are looking for a Spanish interpreter. One moment madam!)…

You can also use:

Restez en ligne s’il vous plaît Monsieur/ Madame! // Please stay on the line/ hold the line, Sir/ Ma’am!

Un instant, je dois mettre l’appel en attente! // One moment, I need to put the call on hold!

Ne quittez pas s’il vous plaît, je cherche quelqu’un qui parle (le) français! // Please hold the line, I am looking for someone who speaks French!

Attendez! // Wait!

Un moment! // One moment!

I hope that helps and in a crunch, try and speak slowly and clearly to find out what the person needs before you can put them in touch with the right person/ language…

Bon mardi!

Today’s French word: « accélérer »

21 Sep

My German friend Lena is learning French at the gymnasium and suggested this word for today’s category du mot d’action:

// accélérer // 1st group verb (conjugate⇒): to accelerate, to speed up, to rush.

Usage:

Nous sommes en retard… Tu veux bien  accélérer la cadence un peu! // We are late… Would you mind picking up a pace some!
Il accélère toujours dans les tournants. // He always speeds up in bends.
>> Note the different accents when conjugating at this LINK.

{source womensblog.score.org}

Accumuler de l’expérience durant tes études t’aidera certainement à accélérer ta carrière! // Gaining experience during your studies will definitely help you to boost your career!

Et une petite citation pour finir: 

Les jours filent comme les roues d’un véhicule : les bons jours ressemblent aux roues d’une voiture qui accélère, tandis que les mauvais jours ressemblent à des roues enlisées qui patinent dans un bourbier. ~ Zhang Xianliang

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