Tag Archives: French

French Language Week

Apologies to subscribers via MailChimp, which has played tricks and not included the link to the post in the alert. Hopefully, you have got here by clicking on the blog title at the top of the alert.  Today is the … Continue reading

Posted in Language | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

What Difference Will French Spelling Changes Make?

First, I have to note that it’s six years today since I pressed the ‘go live’ button on this blog. Since then, I’ve published 496 posts, made a lot of virtual friends and had a ball researching into French life, … Continue reading

Posted in Language | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Language Larks: What French Words Mean Depends on Where You Live

Just a short post this week, for reasons that will become apparent later. Before we moved here, in my ignorance I had always assumed that French was a pretty homogeneous language and that the vocabulary of Lille must also be … Continue reading

Posted in Language | Tagged , , , , , , | 41 Comments

A Question of Accent

  I speak French with an English accent. Try as I might, I can’t get rid of it, even though my French is now pretty fluent after 18 years here. As soon as I open my mouth, I give myself … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Language | Tagged , , , , , | 37 Comments

Things I Didn’t Know When I Moved to France: Part 2 the Negatives

Thanks to everyone who commented on Part 1, the Positives. They added to my list of unexpected pleasures, including: the (comparatively) empty roads; the variety of regional produce and recipes; the friendly interaction with neighbours and rural French people’s lack … Continue reading

Posted in French life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

More Difficult French Phrases

Difficult for we non-French, that is. While writing an email to a French friend recently I had to consult the dictionary several times to make sure I got a particular construction right. This is after more than 16 years in … Continue reading

Posted in Language | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

An Opportunity to Meet French Schoolchildren

We attended a rather nice event last Friday at a school in Villefranche-de-Rouergue. Le Lycée Beauregard, a secondary school, invited local English speakers to meet the students and talk to them – in English.

Posted in French life, Language | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

French Acronyms

Since the world is going to end on December 21st this year, I had better get blogging. You hadn’t heard? But I told you back in January. The only place that will escape the cataclysm is Bugarach in the Pyrénées … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Language | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Yet More French Colloquial Phrases

French is a remarkably colourful language. When at school, struggling to conjugate irregular verbs and make nouns and adjectives agree, I would certainly have disagreed with that statement. Having struck up a more intimate acquaintance with the language during our … Continue reading

Posted in Language | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

French Test or Testing French

Just a short post today. I have been rather snowed under with article commissions recently. I’m not complaining – after all, it’s partly how I earn my corn. But it doesn’t leave much time for other things. If you were … Continue reading

Posted in Language | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Found(ering) in Translation

We’ve just got home from a choral concert given in the Eglise de Saint-Andéol (above) at Parisot. The Chantier Voix choir from Limogne (Lot) interpreted a range of songs from negro spirituals to Russian Orthodox sacred music to Corsican polyphonic chants. Very good it … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Language | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

More French Colloquial Phrases

There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of French colloquial phrases. I wrote about a few of the more common ones a while back. I read in the Figaro Magazine last weekend that a new book had been published about those that … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, Language | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Speaking in tongues; or why I have trouble with my own language

For a writer this is a rather serious problem. I realise that my command of English leaves something to be desired these days.  Fourteen years in France have eroded my ability to wield the language of Shakespeare in the way … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Language | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

French Regional Accents: comment?

We have just returned from a 10-day holiday in Corsica, hence the lack of posts, comments etc for a while. I did schedule this post to appear while I was away, but for some reason it didn’t, so here it … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, French life, History, Language, Personalities | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Anniversary of La Marseillaise – or should that be La Strasbourgeoise?

  Today (and possibly tomorrow – I’ll come back to that) is the anniversary of the composition of La Marseillaise, the national anthem of France. (Thanks to a Tweeting friend for reminding me.) The song was composed by a French … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, French life, History, Personalities, World War I & II | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

My French isn’t that bad, then

French, as I have often remarked on these pages, is fiendishly difficult. It’s a far more precise language than English, so if you use a word that’s slightly wrong or a grammatical construction that is less than perfect, you risk … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Language | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

French colloquial phrases you never learnt at school

See also my post More Colloquial French Phrases. For my other posts about the French language, please click on ‘Language’ under Topics in the right-hand sidebar. French, like all languages, has its colloquial phrases. The pure French that we learnt … Continue reading

Posted in Books/writing, French life, Language | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why does “merci” mean no in French?

If you think that “merci” in French just means thank you, then think again. It also means no, thank you. Continue reading

Posted in Customs, Food/drink/recipes, French life, Language | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Maigret (actor Bruno Cremer) is dead

Bruno Cremer, the interpreter par excellence of Simenon’s Maigret on French TV, died today, reports A Writer’s Lot in France. Continue reading

Posted in Books/writing, French life, Personalities | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The top ten Maigret novels

  ‘What on earth has Georges Simenon’s Maigret got to do with living in southwest France?’ you might ask. And you’d be absolutely right. Very little, is the answer, at least on the face of it. However, I’ve often said … Continue reading

Posted in Books/writing, French life, Language, Personalities, Top tips | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

How to drive like the French

  If you want to be truly integrated into French society, you must learn to drive as the French do. Here is a crash (excuse the pun) course in the rules of the road to help you get started. The 2CV … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Rants | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

French novels – 10 of the best, nos. 6-10

A selection of the top 10 French novels, by A writer’s lot in France. Continue reading

Posted in Books/writing, French life, Language, Top tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Surviving in France: 10 top tips

Living in France is very different from spending a couple of weeks on holiday here. Here are some commonsense tips to help you get the most out of living in France. Continue reading

Posted in French life, Language, Top tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

French social customs 7: tu or vous?

Another knotty problem in my French social customs series [for the others, see Customs in Topics in the right-hand sidebar].

Posted in Customs, French life, Language, Top tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

French social customs 6: greetings in French

For my other posts about French customs, please see Customs under Topics in the right-hand sidebar.  In theory it’s simple: to say hello it’s bonjour all day and bonsoir in the evening.  To say good-bye it’s au revoir at any time of … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, French life, Language, Top tips | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

French social customs 5: Monsieur, Madame or first names?

For my other posts about French customs, please see Customs under Topics in the right-hand sidebar.  The French are more formal than the Americans or the English and are sticklers for politeness.  Many an unsuspecting foreigner has got stuck in the swamp … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, French life, Language, Top tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Language mistakes: 5 things to avoid saying in French

Translating literally from English to French is always dangerous.  Many French words change their meaning depending on how they are used or which verbs they are used with.  Also, hundreds of English and French words look similar but mean different … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Language, Top tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments