When I studied in Paris, I lived in a student dorm. We were given breakfast and supper on weekdays. For breakfast, we had our choice of hot chocolate or coffee and milk and could eat as much bread with butter as we wanted. Most of us ate at least a whole baguette so we wouldn’t be too hungry at lunchtime (we wanted to save our meager student finances). Many of the French students that also lived in the dorm would bring their own cereal and eat it in a big bowl of milk or they would bring Nutella (a chocolately-hazelnut spread) to have with their baguette bread and some of them were even so very kind enough to share their Nutella with us. Those days were real treats! For lunch, we would usually have a crêpe filled with ham and cheese, just ham or Nutella again! Sometimes, we would splurge and get a döner kebab with fries or even eat at one of the Parisian university student dining halls where we would get a three-course meal for a small fee (around 3 Euros). Then, for supper, the bell would ring in the dorm and all the students would go downstairs to the dining room, where you were served a catered-in family-style meal. It usually included some kind of meat dish with plenty of sauce and some vegetables, bread and afterwards, a petit suisse (a type of fromage frais made from cow’s milk and cream), yogurt or cheese and water. When I made a weekend visit to a French friend’s house, the family meals were delicious and again included some kind of meat or fish dish with sauce and some vegetables, some kind of salad, bread and cheese. When I was an aupair and stayed with a French family, the meals usually were very similar…some kind of meat dish with lots of sauce and some vegetables, some kind of salad, bread and cheese. In that case, wine was often served along with bottled mineral water. Some people say the French diet is similar to the American one, but tastier!
Archive for March, 2009
When you’re learning French and especially, when you’re trying to speak French, you can get easily confused or confuse others with these deceitful false friends or false cognates. Faux amis, as they are called in French, are pairs of words that seem to be similar in two different languages, but in fact, are not. I’ll list some common French-English false cognates in this article.
|French word||Meaning||For… in English||Use…in French|
|adepte||follower, enthusiast||adept||compétent, expert|
|agenda||datebook||agenda||ordre du jour|
|caméra||movie camera||camera||appareil photo|
|course||trip, journey, race||course||cours|
|crayon||pencil||crayon||crayon de couleur|
|pays||country||to pay||payer (conjugated)|
|recette||recipe||receipt||reçu, ticket de caisse|
Ne vous trompez pas!
In the French language, there are different ways to be negative…to express negativity. Perhaps the most common is when you want the sentence to be negative. In that case, you place ne before the main verb and pas after it. Or, if you want to say that you never do something, you place ne before the main verb and jamais after it. Here are some examples:
Je ne sais pas. (I don’t know.)
Elle ne mange pas de pain. (She doesn’t eat bread.)
Vous ne voulez pas de vin ? (You don’t want any wine?)
Je ne fais jamais de vélo. (I never ride a bike.)
Il ne boit jamais de lait. (He never drinks milk.)
Ils ne sortent jamais la nuit. (They never go out at night.)
To express negation towards a noun or noun group (as opposed to the verb in the above cases), you do the following:
Tu veux de l’eau? Non, pas de l’eau, du vin. (No, not water, wine.)
Tu viens en train? Non, pas en train, en voiture. (No, not by train, by car.)
Tu veux manger quelque chose ? Non, je ne veux rien. (No, I don’t want anything.)
Tu entends quelqu’un ? No, je n‘entends personne. (No, I don’t hear anyone.)
To express negation towards an adverb, you do as follows:
Elle le voit toujours. Non, elle ne le voit plus. (No, she doesn’t see him anymore.)
Tu as déjà essayé ce vin? Non, pas encore. (No, not yet.)
Finally, you can use the negative form to express some kind of restriction:
Je ne travaille que le matin. (I only work mornings.)
OK. No more being negative. Il faut être positif!