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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Where's the misspelling? If you are referring to "Austerity that's enough" none of those words are misspelled.

What is your native language?

I was just going to say the same thing... but I am French so I was waiting for someone else to comment :-)

It's a direct translation of "Ça suffit," which, while sometimes meaning "That's enough," can also mean "Stop it" or "Cut it out."

A native speaker would probably make a protest sign that read "No to austerity" or "Down with austerity." Saying "Austerity, that's enough" implies that austerity is sufficient. Autrement dit, c'est suffisant. Ce qui n'est pas le cas, si je comprends bien le manifestant.

Misspellings and even grammar are not the only places to make a mistake in using a language. No native English speaker, especially one unacquainted with French, would ever say "Austerity, it's enough!" (= that's all we need = c'est tout ce qu'il nous faut) to mean "No more austerity." The spelling is fine, of course!

But then when the McDonald's franchise ask if you would like to 'give yourself a pleasure' with a coffee, as they do in France, it's hardly surprising. I would have hoped that this huge franchise could have at least checked with head office!

At least they didn't say "Pleasure yourself!"

This is at a protest in London. This guy is probably British.

English speakers from the UK would (and did) say that. It looks like you are not aware of the diversity of the language.

Here's the same sign in an English newspaper:

The sentence is even quoted in the caption.

Yeah this is semantics. Grammatically fine and the meaning is obvious. My teachers said "That's enough!" to me many times. Though I agree with the gist of the post - it's true that non-native English speakers can botch up the language with a sort of blundering overconfidence. I've witnessed it in the work place via email several times, particularly via email, where things are easily misinterpreted.

If it's an British-English sign I have to back down, I guess! It still sounds foreign/French to me. If it said "That's enough austerity" it would be another matter.

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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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