Le mot du jour : “Jour de neige” As we have enjoyed a lovely day of snow (“jour de neige”) yesterday, I thought I would make today a little list of words related to the snow 🙂
The first one to know is obviously “la neige” (the snow).
The snow itself is made of snowflakes that we call “des flocons”
“La neige” is feminine, but “les flocons” are masculine… French language 🙃
Last but not least, the snowman is called “un bonhomme de neige” and not “un homme de neige”. So why “bon-homme” (good-man) instead of “homme” (man)?
Well, maybe because “bonhomme” carries a sense of gentleness that goes well with the round snowy character. I guess to translate the idea in English, it would be more a “snow-chap” or “snow-fellow” than a snowman. I have to admit I have a special fondness for the French word for snowman, as I find it softer 😊
“Être dans la lune” (to be on the moon) means “to have your head in the clouds”, to be a daydreamer.
Each time you are distracted, when your mind leaves that Zoom’s meeting and go somewhere nicer, you are “dans la lune”.
The moon has long been a symbol of dreams among the poets, so that expression makes complete sense.
It is no surprise either that the opposite of being “dans la lune” is “avoir les pieds sur terre” (to have your feet on the ground) 😀 So if someone notices that you have not been listening, just say : “Désolé(e), j’étais dans la lune !” (Sorry, I was on the moon!)
Le mot du jour : “la carte de vœux” Traditions around Christmas in France are slightly different from the British ones, and one of the things we don’t do in France is the Christmas card.
Instead, from the first of January we send “des cartes de voeux” (good wishes cards) where we write all the good things we wish to our friends and family for the new year. You would usually hope for the recipient to have lots of happiness, success at work and most of all “une bonne santé” (a good health), which is taking a new meaning this year.
When I was a child, my grand-parents would put a banknote in the card, for my “étrennes” (New Year’s gift).
It is completely acceptable to send your wishes all over the month of January, but by February it’s too late.
Of course nowadays, the traditional cards tend to disappear in favour of text messages or virtual cards sent by e-mail.
Bonne année et bonne santé à tous, que 2021 vous apporte tout le bonheur possible 😊
(Happy New year and Good Health to you all, may the year 2021 bring you all the happiness possible)
Le mot du jour : Le Réveillon Today, we are between two “Réveillons” : the Christmas one and the New Year’s Eve one.
So what is a “réveillon”?
Le réveillon is the evening before Christmas and before New Year’s day. The word comes from “réveil” (waking) because you have to stay awake very late.
We also have a verb to go with it, “réveillonner”, which can be use only for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. You can party as much as you want any other day of the year, it still won’t be a “réveillon” 😃
So what do we do for the “Réveillon”? Well the Christmas one is about food and Midnight Mass, and the Saint Sylvestre one (St Sylvestre being the saint of 31st December) is about food and partying.
This year obviously is very different and there won’t be real “réveillons” with big groups of people partying together.
I wish you nonetheless a very nice “réveillon de la St Sylvestre”.I hope 2021 will bring you lots of joy.
Le mot du jour : “La bûche de Noël” Quite depressing news again today, so let’s talk about a cheerful subject : la bûche de Noël or Yule Log. La bûche de Noël is the traditional Christmas dessert in France, and I think in a lot of French speaking countries. The tradition since the pagan times had been to burn a huge log in Winter, to please the gods and get a good harvest. In the South of France, it was usually a part of a tree giving fruits (cherry tree or olive tree for example) and in the North it was traditionally an oak (the acorns were part of the everyday food). Today it’s a cake, in the shape of a log, and can have many different flavours. It is often the highlight of the Christmas meal. Bon appétit et Joyeux Noël à tous ! Merry Christmas !
Le mot du jour : “Un moulin à paroles” I was on the phone the other day with a lovely lady trying to sell me water filters, and she kept talking and talking in a steady flow of words, and I thought to myself : “Quel moulin à paroles !
“Un “Moulin à paroles” (“A word mill”) is a chatter box basically, someone who can speak a lot and for a long time.
I really love that expression, it always reminds me of watermills with the river running endlessly through the wheel 🙂
Le mot du jour : “Le vasistas” Today, I am going to show you how, in France, we can be very good at misusing other people’s languages. Here is the story : In Germany in the 18th century, houses used to have a small window above the door, and when you knocked, they would ask you through that window “Was ist das ?”, meaning “What is it?” French people going to Germany gave the name “vasistas” to that little window and it stayed that way. We still use it today to describe a little window, most of the time without realising its German origin and meaning 😊
“Sécher les cours” translates by ” to dry the lessons” and means to skip school without a good reason. It is (relatively) modern slang and is still in use amongst young people today, although I am sure they created plenty of new words to express their desire to not be in school!
I was reminded of that expression this morning, looking out of the window at the misty, cold day and thinking : “Je sècherais bien les cours, aujourd’hui” (“I would like to skip school today!”)
Le mot du jour : “Sauter du coq à l’âne” Well, no food today, but farm animals 🙂
“Sauter du coq à l’âne” means “to jump from rooster to donkey” and is used when someone makes a jump in the conversation, going from one subject to another abruptly.
Ex : “On parlait du temps quand il a sauté du coq à l’âne et s’est mis à parler de foot.” (We were talking about the weather when he changed the subject and started talking about football).
Here is the story behind it : up to the 14th century, “asne”(duck) and “âne” (donkey) were pronounced in exactly the same way.
So the expression was “sauter du coq à l’asne” (when a rooster got confused and jump on a duck instead of a hen) and described people talking without making sense.The word “asne” for ducks disappeared, and only “âne” (donkey) was left.
So now we have a rooster and a donkey in our story 😀