French Language Blog

Celebrate French And Tell Me Ten Words! Posted by on Mar 18, 2015 in Culture, Vocabulary

Image by John Bauer.

Image by John Bauer.

While listening to RFI, I learned that this week is la semaine de la langue française (French Language Week) as part of the celebration for la journée de la francophonie (Francophonie Day) on March 20th.

On l’émission (the show) they talked about one of the fun events going, Dis-moi dix mots (Tell me ten words), where dix mots (ten words) are chosen to celebrate la langue française (the French language). This year la thématique (the theme) is, “dis-moi dix mots… que tu accueilles” : une invitation au voyage (“Tell me ten words… that you embrace”: an invitation to travel).

Les dix mots were chosen to highlight words that la langue française has borrowed and integrated from other languages.

Voici les dix mots:

Amalgame [amalgam] n.m.  Origine arabe
Mixture, jumble, hodgepodge; amalgam; conflation, conflating, conflate

Bravo [bʀavo] interj. et n. m. Origine italienne
Bravo!, well done!; applause, cheering

Cibler [sible] v. tr. (conjug. 1) Origine alémanique suisse
Target, aim at

Grigri [gʀigʀi] n. m. Origine inconnue
Utilisé en Afrique et dans les Antilles (Used in Africa and in the Antilles).
Charm, talisman

Inuit, e [inɥit] n. et adj. Origine inuktitute
Courant au Canada où l’emploi de « esquimau » est officiellement proscrit (Common in Canada where the use of “Eskimo” is officially prohibited).

Kermesse [kɛʀmɛs] n. fém. Origine flamande
Charity fair, street party

Kitsch [kitʃ] adj. inv. et n. m. inv. Origine allemande

Sérendipité [seʀɑ̃dipite] n. fém Origine anglaise

Wiki [wiki] n. m. Origine hawaïenne
Terme emprunté par l’intermédiaire de l’anglais (Borrowed into French via English).

Zénitude [zenityd] n. fém. Origine japonaise

During l’émission, high school students presented short stories and poems they had written using all ten of the words, called une chaîne de mots (a string of words). Can you créer une histoire (create a story) using les dix mots? Take a look at what chaînes de mots other people have already come up with, and try creating your own!

Remember les dix mots!

amalgame, bravo, cibler, grigri, inuit, kermesse, kitsch, sérendipité, wiki, zénitude

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.