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A word to the weather wise Posted by on May 4, 2021 in Environment, Idioms, Music, Vocabulary

While my musings tend to turn to France (with occasional detours north of the border!), French is a global language1the third most commonly used en affaires / for business according to this article and la Francophonie has a global footprint.  This week we’ll look at two examples that remind us of the richness of French in all its global grooviness.

A word to the weather wise

Photo by Jack Krzysik from Pexels [CC0]

A world of language

Spoken in une trentaine de pays2some 30 countries; see this post for a review of the French use of the suffix -aine with numbers, French is the primary language of over 300,000,000 people around the world. It is a language that brings the world together, but also separates it with different vocabulary, different accents, and different approaches.

A new pilot project led by the DGLF aims to capture this richness and variety of French through an online, collaborative Dictionnaire des francophones. Like a wiki for French terms, “toutes les variétés du français sont présentés ensemble et placées sur un pied d’égalité3all the varieties of French are presented together and on an equal footing.

This short presentation video will let you learn more … and see some of the people who have already contributed the unique elements of their French to the dictionary. If you want to dive in deeper, there is a fun and interactive app for phone or tablet that you can download with challenges you can solve using the contents of the dictionary.

A word to the weather wise

Speaking of international influences, the Parisian duo DjeuhDjoah & Lieutenant Nicholson mix funk, afrobeat, soul, and reggae in songs like this one that celebrates the Antilles … while cautioning against the risks of le réchauffement climatique.

La pluie ne tombe pas The rain doesn’t fall
Y’a pas d’eau There is no water
La neige qui fond là-bas The snow is melting out there
Ça c’est chaud That’s hot
Arrêtons les débats Let’s stop arguing (lit. the debates)
Là c’est chaud It’s just hot
Il frappe ici et là It strikes here and there
El Nino … x4 El Nino … x4
Il fait chaud It’s hot
Il fait froid It’s cold
Il fait beau It’s nice  out
Qui sait, demain peut-être pas … Who knows, tomorrow maybe not…
Il fait chaud It’s hot
Il fait froid It’s cold
Météo Weather
Mais où sont les montées des eaux ? But what happened to (lit. where are) the rising waters?
En direction du Nord Towards the north
Very hot
Mettez cap4mettre le cap is a nautical expression that means to head towards/to aim for vers le Sud Head towards the south
Very hot  
40 degrés à Brest 104 degrees in Brest5Brest, a city in western Brittany, doesn’t usually get anywhere near this hot … though over the last few years, extreme heat in Brittany … and elsewhere in France … has been more and more common
Very hot  
Nos leaders sont à l’ouest6Etre a l’ouest is an expression that means to be out in left field, to be lost at sea … in other words, to not know what is going on Our leaders are missing in action (lit. are in the west)
Very hot … x4  
Il fait chaud  It’s hot
Il fait froid  It’s cold
Il fait beau  It’s nice
Qui sait, demain peut-être pas…..  Who knows, tomorrow maybe not
Il fait chaud, oh, oh, oh, oh  
Il fait froid, ah, ah, ah, ah ah ah  
Météo oh oh oh oh  
Déboussolé7déboussolé, from the word boussole / compas, means lost, disoriented, or directionless as in this song from Calogero, montées des eaux ? Directionless, rising water?
Problèmes climatiques Climate troubles
Ça m’attriste Sadden me
Les twisters qui rappliquent Tornadoes coming back
Ça m’rend triste Make me sad
Tonnerre, vent, rafales Thunder, wind, gusts
J’insiste I insist
Dur week-end tout le week-end A rough weekend all weekend
Ça m’attriste aussi That saddens me too
Ça m’rend triste aussi That also makes me sad
[Refrain jusqu’à la fin … ]                               [Chorus to the end…]

Time for dessert

In English we have an expression “It’s the icing (or frosting) on the cake.” The expression refers to that something extra that makes a situation (or a person, place, or thing!) just that much better. It’s the final flourish. In French, the expression you would use is C’est le cerise sur le gâteau. For the French, who generally prefer their desserts less sweet than the average American8Yes, I know! One shouldn’t generalize! But I can tell you after almost 40 years going back and forth, that American desserts tend to be sweeter than those found throughout France., it’s the cherry on the cake that makes life a little sweeter.

You can read more about le cerise sur le gâteau and thousands of other great French expressions at Expressio.fr. The site and its explanations are in French, but it’s a great place to discover les expressions françaises décortiquées9French expressions pulled apart and to read explications sur l’origine, signification, exemples, traductions.10explanations on the origins, meaning, examples, and translations

French Language – Time and Temperature

French Vocabulary – Maps and Directions

  • 1
    the third most commonly used en affaires / for business according to this article
  • 2
    some 30 countries; see this post for a review of the French use of the suffix -aine with numbers
  • 3
    all the varieties of French are presented together and on an equal footing
  • 4
    mettre le cap is a nautical expression that means to head towards/to aim for
  • 5
    Brest, a city in western Brittany, doesn’t usually get anywhere near this hot … though over the last few years, extreme heat in Brittany … and elsewhere in France … has been more and more common
  • 6
    Etre a l’ouest is an expression that means to be out in left field, to be lost at sea … in other words, to not know what is going on
  • 7
    déboussolé, from the word boussole / compas, means lost, disoriented, or directionless as in this song from Calogero
  • 8
    Yes, I know! One shouldn’t generalize! But I can tell you after almost 40 years going back and forth, that American desserts tend to be sweeter than those found throughout France.
  • 9
    French expressions pulled apart
  • 10
    explanations on the origins, meaning, examples, and translations
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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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