French Language Blog

Lost in (Abréviation) Translation? (Part 1) Posted by on Sep 22, 2010 in Culture, Vocabulary

Le dernier mois (last month), many internautes rejoiced to find here on the “French Blog” a list of must-know abréviations commonly used in les textos français (French SMS), together with brief explanations and examples of their daily use. See “Lost in (Textos/SMS) Translation?

Today, we’re going to go encore plus loin (even further), and show you the abbreviations commonly used in France and le monde francophone, which you’re very likely to enounter during the course of a normal conversation, or when you’re reading a French journal (newspaper), magazine, or when watching a French movie, for example.

The premiere partie (first part) will cover the letters A and B:

* ADN:
French people don’t say DNA, but rather ADN (Acide Désoxyribo-Nucléique.) Conversely, if you hear a French speaker say “The ADN”, let them know about the correct way to say it in English (It’s in fact a very common mistake made by French people in English.)

* AF:
Stands for “Allocation Familiale.” Part of the French sécurité sociale (social security), it is the equivalent of “Social Welfare”, “Child Benefit”, or “Family Allowance.”

Some French people’s reactions to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to systematically cancel les AFs for the families of students who often fail to attend school.

Bon Chic, Bon Genre.” We have already seen this expression in the “French Blog” (See “B.A.-BA de l’Argot: ‘B’ [Cont.] (the ABC of French Slang: ‘B’ [Cont.])“), meaning stylish, chic, posh, or “conseravtively preppy.”

* BD:
 “Bande Dessinée”: A comic strip. All-time Famous French (and Belgian) BDs include “Astérix et Obélix“, “Tintin et Milou“, and “Pif et Hércule.”
Le Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême – 2010 (The 2010 Angoulême International Comics Festival)

* BnF:
Acronym for “Bibliothèque Nationale de France” (National Library of France.)

La BnF

* BNP:
Banque Nationale de Paris“: Now “BNP Paribas” is one of the largest banking groups in France and the world. It was for a long time under the control of the French government, until its privatisation in 1993 (two years before the end of François Mitterand‘s presidential mandate.) The fusion (merger) with Paribas happened only after a fierce struggle with BNP’s competitor, Société Générale (which, incidently, employed Jerôme Kerviel. See “Jerôme KERVIEL: «Traitor Trader» ou «Bouc émissaire»?)

* BP
Boîte Postale.” It is the equivalent of the English “Po Box.”

* BTS: 
Brevet de Technicien Supérieur“, is a two-year associate degree, leading to either a direct professinoal career, or further instruction in a French university.

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