French Language Blog

And they’re off … Posted by on Jul 27, 2021 in Culture, Vocabulary

It took a year, but the latest edition of the Jeux Olympiques (les JO as they’re more commonly known in France) have finally begun in Tokyo. The 2020 games – taking place in 2021! – may just be getting started, but France has already made their mark.

And they’re off … Photo from Pixabay [CC0]

And they’re off …

Team France won their première médaille1first medal le samedi 24 juillet2Saturday, July 24, when Luka Mkheidze took bronze in Judo. On Sunday, l’équipe3the team added une médaille d’argent et une médaille d’or4a silver and a gold medal in Judo (médaille d’argent for Amandine Buchard) and Fencing (médaille d’or en épée for Romain Cannone).

For a kid (me!) who grew up not-all-that-far from where the sport of basketball was invented, it was a bit of a surprise to also see on Sunday, the French basketball team beating the American team in the opening rounds of the basketball competition!

And off course, Paris will host the next summer games (2024). It may still be three years away, but – assuming all goes as planned – we should get a first taste of what’s to come when France takes their first official bow during the closing ceremonies in Tokyo.

Saying bonjour bis …

A few weeks back Bridgette reacquainted us with the customary rules for saying bonjour and bonsoir. It got me thinking of two things.

First, when entering a shop where there are other clients already there, it’s customary to say “Bonjour (or bonsoir) messieurs-dames“. Messieurs-dames (a combination of the words messieurs5The plural of monsieur / sir; can be translated as gentlemen and mesdames6the plural of madame/madam or ma’am; can be translated as ladies) is a convenient way to address mixed groups of both men and women.

Second, also as Bridgette pointed out, it is customary for people in familiar situations/settings (like at school, or even in many offices today) to accompany their bonjour’s with la bise … or at least it was before Covid. But now in a post-Covid world, it seems it’s possible that the bise might be on its way out.

[S]elon un sondage Ifop […] 78% de personnes envisagent de ne plus [faire la bise] a des inconnu […] et 50% eviteront d’embrasser proches et collegues a l’avenir7According to an Ifop survey 78% of those surveyed don’t plan to kiss strangers and 50% will avoid it with acquaintances and colleagues in the future preferring to replace it with le check8fist bump.

A little random ending …

One of the ways I’ve been killing time during the Covid lock downs (thankfully over now where I live) is brushing up my math skills in French! I learned a neat little trick this week concerning les pourcentages et la multiplication9percentages and multiplication.

As outlined in this video, percentage calculations are basically multiplications (36% de 50 is the same thing as 36% x 50) and because multiplication is a reciprocal function (2 x 3 is the same thing as 3 x 2) you can simplify percent calculations but reversing things.

So while it might be hard to figure out what 36% of 50 is, it’s much easier to figure out that 50% (half) of 36 is 18!

Paris 2024!

How to French Kiss — But Not That Way!

“Divide” and Conquer French Math Vocabulary


  • 1
    first medal
  • 2
    Saturday, July 24
  • 3
    the team
  • 4
    a silver and a gold medal
  • 5
    The plural of monsieur / sir; can be translated as gentlemen
  • 6
    the plural of madame/madam or ma’am; can be translated as ladies
  • 7
    According to an Ifop survey 78% of those surveyed don’t plan to kiss strangers and 50% will avoid it with acquaintances and colleagues in the future
  • 8
  • 9
    percentages and multiplication
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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.