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Se baigner vs. se baigner Posted by on Jun 4, 2010 in Culture, Music, Vocabulary

First, merci beaucoup pour les commentaires récents de Cynthia (whose comments always make me smile), Anna (tellement gentil, merci bcp, profite de ton stage à Bruxelles!), et Leclerc (également très gentil).

I was sitting dans un café (in a coffee shop) today, thinking “What on earth will le post d’aujourd’hui (today’s post) be about?” Je n’avais plus d’idées—I didn’t have any more ideas. But the hot, en sueur (sweaty) people walking by gave me my answer.

Il fait hyper chaud à New York. It’s super hot in New York—l’été a définitivement commencé (summer has definitely started). En plus, il fait lourd (Plus, it’s humid). Pour combattre la chaleur (to fight the heat), je vous propose (I suggest) deux méthodes :

Se baigner and se baigner !

« Attends, » you say. “Wait a minute.  I might not speak perfect French, but that’s the same word!”

Tout à fait, mes amis (Exactly, my friends). It’s the same word, but se baigner has at least two meanings, and they are both essential outils (tools) for summer succès.

Se baigner means “to bathe oneself.” If I recall correctly, it was our French word of the day a few months ago (see www.facebook.com/learn.french), and our commenters had a great discussion of the two interpretations of the verb.

Dans un premier temps (this is a really great, formal way of saying “On the one hand”), se baigner means to bathe oneself as in to take a bath or shower. Dans un deuxième temps, se baigner can mean to bathe oneself in the more antique sense, meaning to swim or ‘take a dip.’ It connotes leisurely swimming.

Si vous vous baignez à la mer (if you go swimming at the seashore), you’ll need one thing that you probably don’t have when vous vous baignez in the shower: un maillot de bain. A bathing suit may be the biggest difference between the two ‘se baigner’ definitions. (Unless, of course, you’ve found a private cove on the Côte d’Azur, in which case, allez-y: go ahead!). Otherwise, un maillot de bain is probably essentiel. You may also want de la crème solaire (sunscreen), une serviette de plage (a beach towel), des lunettes de soleil (sunglasses) and of course, un tuba, a snorkel, my new favorite French word.

If you can’t easily se baigner à la plage (go swimming at the beach), the summer heat may make you very ready to se baigner dans l’autre sens (in the other sense).

Prendre une douche, to take a shower, or prendre un bain, to take a bath, are on the front line of defense against la chaleur. In this instance, vous pouvez rénoncer au maillot de bain: you can forgo the bathing suit (ooh la la!). Par contre (by contrast), you may want du savon (soap), du shampooing, de l’après-shampooing (conditioner), and une serviette (a towel).

Quelles sont vos défenses contre la chaleur? What are your defenses against the heat?

PS: Who’s ready for summer?

PPS: Also.

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  1. Matt:

    Mon mot favoris est “raplapla” :D. Ca veut dire tres fatigue, ou creve.
    Dans une phrase: Je fais l’athleticisme, et ca me rend tout raplapla!

    Bon article! Tres educatif.

    P.S. Desole de ne pas faire les accents, car mon clavier ne me laisse pas.

  2. bgkev:

    J’aime nager dans la baie d’Elliot ou j’aime plus visiter mes amis au Canada!

  3. Cynthia:

    My defenses against the heat (défenses contre la chaleur) are: seeking shade, lightweight clothing, and a cold glass of water, preferably with ice!

    I am ready for summer, but it is still 16 days away.

    Au revoir!

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