a TAPIF language assistant blog / un blog d’une assistante d’anglais

Like "So you think you can France?" Come join me at my new home, Katy on the Road!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Favorite French

I thought I'd include a list of some of the most frequent French phrases I used during my year in southern France. In reality, there were a lot, but at this point (writing 2 1/2 years later), these are the ones that truly stand out. I could kick myself for not writing this particular post that year, but hindsight is 20/20. And, I've had LASIK since this all happened, so my hindsight is probably more like 20/15 at this point.

1. "N'importe quoi"

Literally, "no matter what," this can be used in many different contexts. It can mean "whatever," like we'd use in English, or it can mean anything, everything... it just generally expresses exasperation. 

"L'épicerie est fermée."
"QUOI?! Mais ce n'est pas encore l'heure... n'importe quoi..."

"Les garçons étaient si bêtes aujourd'hui... ils ont fait n'importe quoi!" 

When Narbo hit us with some new oddity, we often exclaimed the ever-useful "n'importe quoi!" It's still one of my first reactions when I hear something ridiculous.

2. "J'en ai marre"

"I've had enough (of whatever we're talking about)!" This one, again, expresses extreme frustration. Quite flexible. If it's not already clear by the conversation what you're referring to, you can say "J'en ai marre de (whatever it is)."

3. "Tiens-moi au courant" and its even more familiar equivalent, "Tiens-moi au jus"

"Tiens-moi au courant" literally means "keep me in the current," but it basically means "keep me updated." You can say it if you've discussed tentative plans and you're asking the other person to follow through. You can include it at the end of a message or email to indicate you'd like to keep in touch or follow through. "Tiens-moi au jus" isn't one I really used often, but I heard it from some of my French friends. The first time I heard it I was like "comment?!," because jus means "juice." Keep me in the juice? I had it explained two different ways to me. The first is that "juice" stands in for "current," because you can say juice for electricity (as in the electric current, which makes sense, because we say that in English). The second is that "juice" is some kind of surfing term, and stands for the current of the ocean. Who knows.

4. "Ça te dit?"

This literally means "That says to you?" but it's more like "That speaks to you?" In the end, it's just asking if something sounds good to you.

"Je pense à voir un film au ciné, ça te dit?"

5. "Il faut profiter!"

Profiter is my favorite French word. We just don't have an equivalent in English. The verb profiter means something between "to make the best/most of," "to take advantage of," "to profit from," "to benefit from." We used this ALL the time. French people use this ALL the time. I feel like it reflects the French perspective that one must make the most of any situation; they appreciate life (food, beauty, free time, etc.) on a much different level than we do as Americans.

"On à la plage vendredi?"
"Oui, il va faire du soleil! Il faut en profiter."

"Je n'ai pas cours cette semaine, alors je vais profiter et aller à la Côte d'Azur."

I actually use profite in my franglais quite frequently, since I love it so much and there's no true English equivalent. You might hear me saying "you gotta profite" or "well, we should probably profite, you know..." I mean really, there's just nothing else that works quite as well. You can use it, too, if you like it! Don't speak French? Don't sweat it. It's pronounced pro-FEET, by the way. Now it's yours!

La vie est belle. Merci d'en profiter!
"Life is beautiful. Thanks for making the most of it!"

No comments:

Post a Comment