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Describing people in French, Part 2 Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in Grammar, Music, Vocabulary

A few weeks ago we looked at some common expressions for describing people. This week, I’ll expand a bit on that lesson and share another of my favorite French songs that – while maybe it doesn’t perfectly illustrate the concepts – is definitely related to the topic!

First, the lesson!

Earlier we looked at how to describe people; their eye color and hair color for the most part^. Below are some additional terms you may find useful when talking about what people look like.

Autres couleurs des yeux (Other eye colors):

verts

green

bleus

blue

bruns / marron*****

brown

noisette*****

hazel

gris

grey

Autres couleurs des cheveux (Other hair colors):

noirs

black

blonds

blond

bruns / marron*****

brown

châtains

light brown

roux

red / ginger

gris

grey

blancs

white

***** ‘marron’ and ‘noisette’ are invariable and do not change spelling in the plural. See here for more on colors. Note all the other options are presented in their plural form since – generally – eyes and hair come in pairs (or more!). If you happen to know or meet someone with two different colored eyes (like famously David Bowie) you would drop the ‘s’ and say ‘il a un œil vert et un œil bleu’ (he has one green eye and one blue eye).

And now the song!

Tout le monde Everyone
Répète en chœur que les hommes préfèrent les blondes Repeats as one that men prefer blonds
Qu’ils fondent That they melt
Pour une décolorée en moins d’une seconde In less than a second for a woman with bleached hair
J’ai l’impression qu’ils confondent I have an impression they’re confused / that they’re mixing things up
Et la Joconde, à moins qu’on la tonde* The Mona Lisa, after all, unless someone shaves her head
C’est quand même bien une brune Is still pretty good with brown hair
Les brunes comptent pas pour des prunes** Brown-headed women are worth more than that
Certaines … brunettes se font appeler des blonds vénitiennes*** Some … brunettes** ask to be called dark blond / strawberry blond
Vilaines**** … menteuses, elles trichent, et puis à  quoi ça les mène Naughty . . . liars, they cheat, and what good does it do them
Il faudrait qu’on les prévienne Someone needs to warn them
Sophia Loren, j’suis pas daltonienne Sophia Loren, I’m not color blind !
C’est quand même bien une brune She’s got brown hair !
Les brunes comptent pas pour des prunes Brown-headed women are worth more than that
On a du caractère, et dans nos artères We have character, and through our veins
C’est du sang chaud qui coule Warm blood flows
On la joue pas cool. We don’t cool our heels / wait around.
Attention aux brunes Pay attention / watch out / don’t ignore brown-headed women
Les brunes comptent pas pour des prunes Women with brown hair are worth more than that
On a plus d’idées, que les peroxydées We’ve got plenty more ideas than those peroxide blonds
C’est sûr qu’on en jette To be sure we’re throwing it off
Plus que les blondinettes More than those blondies
On a plus d’éclat, que ces pauvres filles-là We’ve got more eclat / oomph than those sad girls
Et puis voilà And so there
Et même si tout le monde And even if everyone
Répète en chœur que les hommes préfèrent les blondes Persists that men prefer blonds
Qu’ils fondent That they melt
Pour une décolorée en moins d’une seconde In less than a second for a woman with bleached hair
J’ai l’impression qu’ils confondent I have an impression they’re confused / that they’re mixing things up
Et la Joconde, à moins qu’on la tonde The Mona Lisa, after all, unless someone shaves her head
C’est quand même bien une brune Is still pretty good with brown hair
On a du caractère, et dans nos artères We have character, and through our veins
C’est du sang chaud qui coule Warm blood flows
On la joue pas cool. We don’t cool our heels / wait around.
Attention aux brunes Pay attention / watch out / don’t ignore brown-headed women
Les brunes comptent pas pour des prunes Women with brown hair are worth more than that

^ Here’s one more useful word I might have included in previous posts about how to describe people: mignon/mignonne (and mignons/mignonnes … since like any adjective it must agree – in general – in gender and number with the noun it modifies!). ‘Mignon’ (and all the variations) means ‘cute, adorable, charming’. It is found in filet mignon (which literally means ‘little/cute filet’) … and it is also the origin of the English word ‘minion’ as in http://www.minionsmovie.com/minions.html

* From the verb ‘tondre’ which means ‘to shear’ or ‘to shave all the hair off of’ vs. ‘raser’ / ‘to shave’ as you might a face, or legs, etc.
** ‘compter pour des prunes’ is a French expression that means ‘to be of little worth’ (lit. ‘to count for plums’). See this previous post for more on plums and other fruits . . . and the reason why plums are of so little esteem!
*** Venetian (or Titian) blond is a shade of auburn or strawberry blond hair.
**** This word can mean ‘naughty’, ‘bad’ but also ‘ugly’ . . . as in « t’es vieux chaussures sont plutôt vilaines » (your old shoes are pretty ugly).

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About the Author:Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris


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