Maîtres mots

  • Il y a longtemps que notre pays est beau mais rude.

       --Newspaper editor Olivier Séguret, 25 January 2012

    The USA are entirely the creation of the accursed race, the French.

       --Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), writing to Nancy Mitford, 22 May 1957

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French Freedom of Speech

Today the cheminots are:

  • "À nous de vous faire préférer le train!"
    "Voyager autrement"
    "Avec le SNCF, tout est possible"
      --Former ad slogans of the SNCF (French national trains), each in turn quickly dropped

Fun French words

  • ouistiti

    (literally: marmoset)
    Etymology: onomatopoeia from the sound a marmoset makes. Actual meaning: this is what you say in France when you want people to smile for the camera.

    Selon une étude réalisée par le fabricant d’appareils photo Nikon, le « ouistiti » utilisé en France au moment de se faire prendre en photo est le petit mot le plus efficace pour s’assurer un joli sourire.

Who's en colère today?

  • Private sector

    First strike in 43 years at an aeronautics company in Toulouse, Latécoère

    Public sector

    The SNCF (toujours eux), regional train employees in the Lyons area guaranteeing unpleasant travel from the 17th-21st December
    Also yet another strike by Sud-Rail, a particularly truculent SNCF union in the south of France, this time five days in January: 6,7, 21, 22 and 23. "We have no choice." Right.

    Marseilles trams on strike until February

Go back to school in Paris!

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« Anomalies of French life: strikers versus management, French version | Main | A Southern sorority's Paris day »


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Ouch! That's a lot of mis-gendered articles! And not-agreeing adjectives!

Funny! :) This bugs my husband. There is a nice, fancy, French restaurant in Vegas and they have everything misspelled on the windows and menus. :) He notices it and points it out every time we are there!

When the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas first opened, we excitedly visited it only to find that so many of the signs in French were grammatically incorrect or just misspelled. With all the millions they spent to build and decorate this place, you would have thought they could have spent a few hundred more and hired a competent translator. The next time I went, I noticed the signs were fixed.

Probably the person who commissioned the signs asked a high school French student or something....

Chiming in, could you please verify that last one? I thought it was, "let the good times roll" and being Cajun is a colloquial phrase is used during Mardi Gras. It may be too direct of a translation, but it is Cajun after all.

Hi Sagely! I'm Cajun myself & can assure you it's not correct to write it with -z, nor is the phrase actually Cajun French in origin. In fact its popularity is recent, since 1980 (see ngram viewer below), by which time very few Cajuns still spoke French as their main language and Louisiana suddenly realized (thanks to Codofil) that French had its good points.

"Laissez les bons temps rouler" is a back-translation from English, probably from the song(s) "Let the good times roll" (1946); "let the good times roll" became popular since 1960.

The phrase is not good French, nor is it real Cajun, but it IS wonderful "Louisiana"!

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Today's quotation

  • In Paris, the purest virtue is the object of the filthiest slander.

      –Honoré Balzac (1799-1850), in Scènes de la vie privée

    À Paris, la vertu la plus pure est l'objet des plus sales calomnies.

Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

  • Annual Geminids meteor shower (shooting stars!) coming this weekend, if it's not too cloudy out at night.

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