Tag Archives: jeudi

The return of the Frenchie…

20 Déc

It is so nice to have a permanent presence on the web that does not disappear when I enter a time of complete “non-blogging”. It may have seemed that I must have withdrawn from society to go off to intense jedi training or meditation, but in reality, I got to a point of busyness where I could not focus on “fun”, or creative work other than translation projects and my awesome marketing and advertising on-line class at NYU this past semester.

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Concerning « préoccupations » vs. “concerns”

15 Mar

There is reason to be concerned about the potential misuse of false-cognates in French and English. They are a daily occurrence in my life, and because I concentrate on interpreting meaning-for-meaning, I have gotten used to them. And sometimes, there are not faux-amis per se, but just different usage for the derived terms of a word… Lire la suite

Le mot intello : « Le mépris et la méprise »

23 Fév

Contempt (film)

One cause for confusion with the French language, especially for a native English speaker, is genders. The concept even is misunderstood, and its impact underestimated. So I have a few examples of these coming up on our blog, and you will see what a difference gender makes! Lire la suite

Le mot intello : « engagement »

16 Fév

Etymology: From the latin preposition in- (en, dans) ; From Middle English gage, from Old (and modern) French gager (verb), gage (noun), from Frankish *waddi, from Germanic ( > English wed), meaning to pledge, to bet.

Source: wikipedia

I highly recommend the film: A Very Long Engagement (French: Un long dimanche de fiançailles), a 2004 French romantic war film, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and starring Audrey Tautou. It is a fictional tale about a young woman’s desperate search for her fiancé who might have been killed on the battle of the Somme, during World War I. It was based on a novel of the same name, written by Sebastien Japrisot, first published in 1991. (Source: Wikipedia)

If you liked the film « Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain« , then you will enjoy this one (and I personally love films involving romance in the middle of a war…)! Lire la suite

Le mot intello : « quiproquo »

9 Fév

Nothing like doing a little overtime and starting my workday at 7:00 am without coffee…
Coffee (or tea) has a wonderful effect on me: the soothing warmth, the spicy scent, the strong taste and of course… the caffeine! It is also the interpreter’s (or translator’s) required beverage before starting the day, because it might help align all the pathways in the brain and ensure optimal performance (or placebo?). Like a fuel and stimulant to my “cervelle”. Thankfully, in the meantime (and until my first morning break), I have a wonderful home-made banana nut muffin to keep me happy.

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Le mot intello : « a priori »

2 Fév

For the interpreted English audio version, listen to the player here.

A priori, ça ne devrait pas être si difficile que ça, d’apprendre une langue (étrangère), et pourtant… C’est un travail quotidien, c’est l’œuvre d’une vie.

Source: hoteljules-paris.com

Je ne sais pas si c’est pareil pour vous, mais moi, j’en apprends tous les jours. Qu’il s’agisse d’un mot français moins usuel, d’une expression d’argot américain, ou bien de petits tuyaux bien utiles que j’apprends en interprétant un auto-dépannage ou bien un appel au service consommateurs…

Saviez-vous par exemple, qu’avec une assurance automobile de responsabilité civile, les dommages sur votre véhicule ne sont pas pris en charge si vous êtes fautif pour l’accident ? Ou bien, pour maintenir le bon fonctionnement de votre cafetière, c’est une bonne idée de la détartrer au vinaigre de vin blanc une fois par mois ? Ou encore, sur un PC avec Windows, vous pouvez aller sous Démarrer > Exécuter > entrez « ipconfig » pour trouver l’adresse I.P. de votre ordinateur ?

Ce sont sans doute des choses que vous connaissez déjà mais, a priori, ce n’est pas connu de tout le monde !

// a priori / à priori (since 1990 French spelling reform) // adverb: a priori assumption ; offhand ; on the face of it.

Usage :

A priori, Pierre devrait passer dans la journée. // Apparently, Pierre should stop by sometime today.

Je sais qu’il te faut quelqu’un de fiable pour cette mission, mais a priori, je n’ai personne en tête. // I know you need someone reliable for this assignment, but offhand, I don’t have anyone in mind.

La connaissance a priori est fondée sur l’hypothèse, plutôt que sur l’expérience. // A priori knowledge is based on hypothesis rather than experiment.

As you can tell, dear readers, this expression is much more widely used in French than it is in English; many more applications, not that nerdy (“intello”) after all… so go ahead: use it!

Bonne journée !

Le mot intello: « comblé »

26 Jan

After a good, intense, cardio-step workout, the rant is over and it is time to focus back on the positive… Are you with me?

I am an optimist, always have been. And when I deal with a tough situation or face hardships and challenges, I first let the negative out (whether it is a good scream, cry, kick, workout or knockout – nobody is injured though, I promise). Then, once I am calmed down, I go into a meditative mode and I pray, sing, count my blessings. And when I do, I realize that I have a wonderful life!

Today’s word is intelligent, only in the sense that if you use this term in speaking French, you demonstrate a higher command of the language, a more advanced level. It is not pompous either, so go ahead, use it!

// comblé(e) // adjective: fulfilled, satisfied, overjoyed

Usage :

The declaration of love

Image via Wikipedia

Je suis absolument comblée de joie ! // I am absolutely overjoyed !

Sa déclaration d’amour m’a comblée. // His declaration of love filled me with joy.

Merci beaucoup, je suis comblé!  // Thank you very much, I don’t know what to say!

Le prince combla de cadeaux ses invités d’honneur. // The prince lavished presents on his honored guests.

I am going to keep it short today, but maybe you can use today’s word in a sentence and comment below. Tell us what you are overjoyed about…

Example :  « Je suis comblée de joie à l’idée de retourner en France auprès de ma famille et de mes amis cet été ! »


Don’t mix up with the noun « Le comble », which figuratively, means « the height of… » and literally means « roof space »!

Le mot intello : « exercer »

19 Jan
Image by fanz via Flickr


The French language is so rich with expressions, and it associates verbs specifically with certain nouns to form an expression. In English, one verb can be changed into so many different meanings with a preposition (to take in/ out/ after/ along/ apart/ away…). In French, those different meanings are achieved with a whole expression (prendre part à…) or a distinct verb (emporter, enmener, démonter, …).

But enough grammar for today, and let’s learn to say:

// exercer // first group verb: to exercise, to practise, to train, to carry out, to exert


Dr. Perrot exerce dans son cabinet en région parisienne depuis 23 ans. // Dr. Perrot has been practicing in his office in the Paris area for 23 years.

Maître Jean Dupond exerce en tant qu’avocat d’immigration à Londres. // Jean Dupond, Esq. practices immigration law in London.

Quel métier exercez-vous? // What is your occupation?

Je vais m’exercer à la plongée sous-marine avant mon voyage aux Bahamas. // I am going to practice diving before my trip to the Bahamas.

Tous les employés pourront exercer leurs (or: faire la levée des) stock options une fois qu’ils seront acquis. // All employees will be able to exercise their stock options once they are vested.

And if you plan to work out today, I hope you get some good exercise!


Et vous, quel métier exercez-vous? Faites-en nous part dans les commentaires!

Today’s smart word: « réfuter » (no, not refudiate ;-)

9 Sep
Sarah Palin speaking at a rally in Elon, NC du...

Image via Wikipedia

I must admit that Labor Day week-end caused my normal schedule to be a little off, and instead of being prepared, I am playing catch-up… Nevertheless, it makes this week’s « mots du bonjour » a little more spontaneous! After reading Todd Pack’s « freshly pressed » blog post regarding Sarah Palin’s mishap with the English language (« refudiate« ) and the inability to properly use more advanced words, I thought the following would be appropriate for our Thursday category, le mot intello:

// réfuter // 1st group verb, (conjugate⇒): to refute, to disprove, to controvert, to rebut.
Synonyms: démentir, contester


Il a réfuté l’accusation de son patron sur son manque de fiabilité. // He refuted the accusation by his boss on his lack of reliability.
Sarah a réfuté en bloc toutes les accusations portées contre elle. // Sarah refuted entirely all accusations made against her.
Le rôle de l’avocat est de réfuter les accusations portées contre son client. // The attorney’s role is to refute the accusations made against his client.

Bonne… nuit!!

Today’s French word: « se renseigner »

26 Août

[tweetmeme source= »FrenchNad » only_single=false] Vary your vocabulary today, rather than always using the word for « to ask » (demander) and sound as intelligent as you are:

// se renseigner // 1st group verb  (conjugate⇒): to ask, to inquire, to find out


se renseigner au sujet de //  to ask about
se renseigner sur // to inquire for / into


« Excusez-moi! Je voudrais me renseigner sur la meilleure route à prendre pour Versailles. » // « Excuse-me! I wanted to find out about the best way to reach Versailles. »

« Pourriez-vous s’il-vous-plaît me renseigner sur les meilleurs restaurants dans le coin? » // « Could you please tell me about the best restaurants in the area? »

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