Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More False Friends

Some more of those french words that sound similar to english words but have a different meaning.

I think all newcomers to France trip up over the differeece between monnaie (change as in loose change or spare change) and money which is l'argent. Cash on the other hand is called liquid pronounced "leekeed".

Éventuellement in french implies "possibly" or "if need be" whereas eventually in english implies that something will occur, but at a later time.

This next one is a real pronunciation hassle:
In french a single s is pronounced as a z, and a double s as a soft, normal s. So when some English people pronounce dessert like "dez-urt" and desert like "dez-it" it causes mass confusion amongst the french.

These next few are a minefield:
baisser (pronounced with a soft s) means to lower.
baiser (pronounced with a z) is coarse, and means to fuck.
un bisou (pronounced with a z) or un bize is a kiss.
So, asking for a kiss, or trying to say "I kissed her" is fraught. If you're talking about kissing, use the verb embrasser to be safe, or use the noun, "je voudrais un bize" or "Vous ne me donnez pas un bisou?"

If using the verb baisser to mean "lower" pronounce it properly. Telling someone to hurry up and fuck the forklift doesn't help.

Lastly, your homework. practice these toung-twisters:
Une bien grosse grasse mère avec de biens beaux gros gras bras blancs

Des blancs pains, des bancs peints, des bains pleins

Trois gros rats gris dans trois gros trous ronds rongent trois gros croûtons ronds.

Un chasseur sachant chasser sait chasser sans son chien de chasse.

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At 9:28 am, Blogger Lola said...

I'm rubbish enough at French without being paranoid as well! I shall avoid all possible embarrassing errors, and continue to point and shout in English, as is traditional.


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