French Language Blog

Still Lost in (Abréviation) Translation? (Part 2) Posted by on Sep 27, 2010 in Culture, Vocabulary

French abréviations are virtually partout (everywhere): In les journaux (newspapers), les magazinesles films (movies), les conversations quotidiennes (daily conversations), including les SMS (text messages), etc.

We continue today the list of must-know French abbreviations, which we have started last week (Lost in (Abréviation) Translation? (Part 1))

À vos marques! Prêts! Partez! (Ready! Steady! Go!)

We saw last time that the abbreviation BP in French stands for Po Box.
Still about the French poste, you need to know about le Cedex, which is an acronym for a special sevice called ” Courrier d’Entreprise à Distribution EXceptionnelle.” Many foreigners in France wonder what the CEDEX stands for: Is it like a code postal (zip code)? Non. In plain English, that would be “Mail of Companies with Exceptional Distribution”, meaning companies who usually receive a lot of letters per day, and therefore need to have a mailing priority with la Poste de France. In that sense, CEDEX is not unlike the American FedEx.

For example, if you are an actionnaire (shareholder) of la société L’Oréal, you may contact their headquarters by mail at the following address:

” 41
, rue Martre92117 Clichy CedexFrance

* CGT:
The Americans have their AFL-CIO; the French are blessed with their CGT !

Thanks to the long-running tandem of trade union CGT (la Confédération Générale de Travail) and a rather rigid French patronat (employers—See MEDEF), la grève du travail (work strike) has become somewhat of a passe-temps national (national pass-time) in France, at times paralyzing all economic activity for weeks…

A new “war front” for the CGT: The protection of the French language in French companies!

This lady talks about her experience with a French company acquired by the American giant “General Electric“, which started slowly but surely “discreminating” against French employers on the basis of their English level. The legal power of “La Loi Toubon“, or “Toubon Law”, protecting the sovereign status of the French language in France, is (still) to be appreciated in such cases…

* Cie:
“Cie” is an abbreviation of “compagnie“, as in “et Cie.” (“and Co.”)
It doesn’t have to used within the context of work. For example “Max et Cie.” (“Max & Co.”)
Dessin animé “Max et Cie.(“Kimagure Orange Road” in Japanese—The Italians know it as “E quasi magia Johnny”)

Not to be confused with this other dessin animé “Max & Co.“:

French animé “Max & Co.“: Winner at the Festival International du Film d’Animation d’Annecy (The Annecy International Animation Film Festival)

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