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Archive for August, 2015

French Back-to-School: La Rentrée (de réformes) Posted by on Aug 31, 2015

Uh-oh — it’s already la rentrée! As the end of August approaches, students are getting ready to head back to school, people are returning back from vacation, and workers are heading back to work. In French, there’s an important word for all of this: la rentrée. Literally meaning “the return,” la rentrée refers to the…

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Can You BRING Me to My French Class? No, but I Can TAKE You… Posted by on Aug 27, 2015

Unless you are already on the moon, I’m not going to say this to you! It doesn’t matter how much I want to go there. Logically speaking, ‘bring’ and ‘take’ shouldn’t cause too much confusion, but I hear native speakers make this mistake time and time again (talking about English, by the way). “I’m going to…

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Help! Attention! Urgence! Posted by on Aug 26, 2015

Many medical and emergency words are similar in French, but they are also different enough to lead to major confusions. Médecin doesn’t mean medicine and an emergency is urgent, but in French it’s l’urgence that takes the name. That last sentence is confusing because of all the closely related words that are nearly the same…

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French Singer-Songwriter Georges Brassens Posted by on Aug 24, 2015

Georges Brassens is a French icon; a singer-songwriter and poet who rebelled against what he saw as upper-class and traditional values. His lyrics are poetry, but they are notoriously difficult to translate because he often used argot, puns, sarcasm and black humor. Oftentimes in translation, the real beauty of his lyrics are lost. The lyrics below…

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Who Ya Gonna Call? Not Nine One One! Posted by on Aug 19, 2015

After figuring out how les numéros de téléphones français (French phone numbers) work and when things are open (even on Sundays!), there is a big thing some people don’t release when they’re going abroad. Qui est-ce qu’on appelle en cas d’urgence ? Who do you call in an emergency? The American number, 911, does not…

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French Actor: Lambert Wilson Posted by on Aug 17, 2015

Have you ever heard of Lambert Wilson? He’s a well known and prolific French actor. While he appears mostly in French films today, you may have caught him in English-language productions as well. He has performed in Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions (2001), Catwoman (2004), and, most recently, Babylon A.D. (2007) with Vin Diesel and…

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French Verbs with No Prepositions Posted by on Aug 14, 2015

Continuing with the verbs and prepositions series (miss the previous posts? here you go!), this week I’m going to be discussing an aspect that is right up the alley of those who translate word for word. Translating word for word can be dangerous, especially if you’re trying to use an idiom, but with verb phrases…

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