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What are the most embarrassing ENGLISH/FRENCH false friends?
If you don't want to learn French the hard way, read this article!
You will learn, for example, why you should not say:
Here is a list of words that sound the same in English and French but have very different meanings. Those words are called "false friends".
Let's start with the most embarrassing ones (with the Warning sign), you must absolutely not confuse!The most embarrassing ones Править "Introduire" and "Introduce" Править
Naturally, English speakers would think it means "to introduce" which actually means "to penetrate" or "to insert".
So next time you meet French people and want to tell them to "introduce each other”, the verb you’re looking for is “se présenter”.
Do not say "permettez-moi de vous introduire"!, but "Permettez-moi de vous présenter".
Any native french speaker would just interpret it in the usual sense, especially if you finished it with a person, e.g. "permettez-moi de vous introduire mon frère" but people might start to laugh when they hear that."Bras" and "Bras" Править
"Le bras" refers to "an arm" while "bras" in English is translated by "soutien-gorge"."to chat" and "chatte" Править
The verb "to chat" means in English "have a light conversation" and is translated "Bavarder" in French. "Chat" pronounced with a hard T at the end is the slang for a woman’s private parts (chatte in French). So be careful with that word!
Comment (Reddit): Chatte c'est d'abord la femelle du chat. Ça désigne aussi le sexe de la femme, mais à nouveau le contexte fait tout."A little bit" and "Une petite bite" Править
Do not translate "A little bit" by "Une petite bite" because "bite" is a very familiar word for penis.
Use "Un petit peu" ou "un peu" instead."Slip" and "Slip" Править
"slip" in French translates into "men’s briefs". "have a slip" is translated "glisser" in French."Luxuriouse" and "luxurieux" Править
Even though “luxe” means luxury, if you want to say “luxurious” don’t try to say “luxurieux” because it means “lustful”. If you want to say “you lived in a luxurious hotel” your French guests might start thinking you spent the last days at a swingers club.
Comment (Reddit): Luxure est un mot recherché pour lust (c'est celui qui est utilisé pour nommer le péché capital par exemple)"Preservative" and "Préservatif " Править
In French if you’re asking for "a préservatif" you are asking for a condom and not a preservative!
Do not ask: "je voudrais mon repas sans préservatifs s'il vous plaît", say "Je voudrais un repas sans CONSERVATEURS" instead."I am hot" and "Je suis chaud(e)" Править
Do not translate "I am hot" by "Je suis chaud" ou "Je suis chaude" mais par "j'ai chaud".
"Je suis chaud(e)" means "I'm horny" or "I'm ready/ok to do it" as in "Tu es prêt pour demain? - Ouais je suis chaud !" ("Are you ready for tomorrow? - Yeah I'm ready (to do it) !")"I feel bad" and "Je sens mauvais" Править
Do not say "Je sens mauvais" for "I feel bad".
"Je sens mauvais" means "I smell bad".
Say "Je me sens mal" instead."Excité" and "Excited" Править
If you are very excited to do something, don't say: "Je suis très excité(e)", because "excité" in French can mean "aroused" depending on the context.
You would rather say "Je suis très content(e)".
Note: "Excité" may have the meaning of "aroused", but it's not the only one. When a parent say her five-year-old daughter is "excitée à l'approche de Noël", it has no sexual involvement. Yes, we have to be careful about ambiguous contexts or in the presence of teasing teenagers. We will not say however "Je suis très excité de faire ça" because it is badly formed but "Je suis très excité(e) (or impatient(e)) à l'idée de faire ça"."Traînée" and "Trainee" Править
The word "trainee" sounds very similar to the French word "traînée". Trainee is translated "Stagiaire" in French while "traînée" means "a woman of an promiscuous nature".
"avoir l’air con" means in French "to look stupid" while "Air Con" is the abbreviation for "Air Conditioning".
After having explained the most annoying false friends, let's continue with some more gentle ones:"Apologie" and "Apology" Править
"Une apologie" in French is "a speech to convince someone of the correctness of something". It's not translated by "An apology" (say you are sorry). Il a fait l'aplologie du capitalisme = He made the defense of capitalism.
Actually "apologie" and "apology" have opposite meanings."Blesser" and "Bless" Править
"Blesser" and "Bless" also have quite opposite meaning. “blessez-vous” does not mean "Bless you" but "hurt yourself"."Chair" and "Chair" Править
"chair" in French means "flesh" while "chair" is translated by "chaise" in French. Don't say at a party "Je cherche une chair" but "Je cherche une chaise"."Actuellement" and "Actually" Править
"Actuellement, je travaille à Paris" is not translated by "Actually I work in Paris" but by "Currently, I work in Paris".
"Compréhensif" means "understanding" while "comprehensive" can be translated as "complet" (detailed)."Assister" and "to assist" Править
"J'ai assité à un concert" is not translated by "I assisted a concert" but by "I attended a concert".
"Je dois attendre mon ami" is not translated by "I must attend my friend" but by "I must wait for my friend".
"Caractère" in French refers only to the temperament of a person:
"Character" in English means both nature/temperament as well as a person in a play.
"In this movie the main character is. " is not translated by "Dans ce film, le caractères principal est. ” but by "Dans ce film, le personnage principal est. "."Cent" and "Cent" Править
"Cent" in French means "a hundred", while "cen" in English can be translated by "un centime"."Chance" and "Chance" Править
"La chance" in French means "luck", while "chance" in English is translated by "un hasard" in French.
In French, "Le coin" refers to "a corner". It can also mean "around here". from the area:
In English "A coin" is a a small, round piece of metal that is used as money. In French it's translated by : "une pièce de monnaie"."Collège" and "College" Править
Those ones are really easy to confuse. "Collège" means Middle School or High School, while College is translated by "Université".
After a brutal headache, you decide to go to the nearest pharmacy to buy pills. French people will think you are asking for “piles”, or batteries. To avoid this confusion (and to make sure you find a cure for your headache), you would better ask for Aspirine."Sensible" and "Sensible" Править
It's not identical words. "Sensible" means "sensitive" in French and you should not use that word when describing your qualities during a job interview. You would rather use the word "raisonnable"."Blanquette" and "Blanket" Править
Don't ask your neighbour to lend you a “blanquette” but “une couverture”. Else your neighbour might turn up with a cooked meal made of veal stew (Blanquette de veau) which will not keep you warm at night."prejudice" and "préjudice" Править
"Avoir de la monnaie" means "to have change" (as in loose coins). It doesn't mean--as the word monnaie might suggest--"to have money". That would be "avoir de l'argent"."Change" and "Change" Править
"Change", in the context of money, refers to currency exchange, not change (as in loose coins).
"Un concours" means "a contest", not "a concourse".Videos Править
The false friends of the French language can be harmless, inconvenient, or downright embarrassing.
You've surely heard, for example, that "préservatif" doesn't mean "preservative" at all - and actually means condom.
But faux amis can also be really, really annoying, and here are the 19 most irritating of them all.
You want to tell your French friend you’re very excited about something? "Excité" sounds like the word you should use, right? Unfortunately not. You just told your friend you were "aroused", probably not what you were going for. Enthusiaste is better.
If you want to say that you had a chat with someone, and do this by saying chat in a French accent (shatte) then congratulations, you've just used the slang word for a woman's private parts (chatte in French). The French word for "to chat" is "bavarder".
So you’ve accidentally let out a loud burp at a French dinner party. Cringing of embarrassment, you quickly let out an “apologie”. The only trouble is that in French, you’ve just told them that you “condone” or "justify" such table manners. "Pardon" and "excusez-moi" are both polite alternatives.
The verbs have quite opposite meaning. While a well-meaning English-speaker might feel the temptation to throw out a “blessez-vous” when someone sneezes, try not to. In French, the verb "blesser" translates into "injure". The expression to use here is: "à vos souhaits".
Looking for a chair at a party? Use the term "chaise". "Chair" in French means flesh and you might get some weird looks if you tell the party hosts that you’re looking for some.
This one could easily get your knickers in a knot. Especially since “slip” in French translates into “men’s briefs”. If you’ve had a slip and you want to tell your French friends about it, better to use the verb “glisser”.
You have a brutal headache and you head to the local pharmacy in search for pills to cure you. To the French, it will sound as if you’re asking for “piles”, or batteries. To avoid confusion (and to make sure you get rid of your headache), better to ask for brands like Aspirine or Doliprane.
Ask for the "librairie" in France and you’ll be directed to a bookshop (where you have to pay) rather than a library (which is free). The word for library is bibliothèque.
Identical, right? Not so. “Sensible” means “sensitive” in French and it’s probably not the best word to use when describing yourself in a job interview. Try “raisonnable” instead.
Don’t be surprised if, after asking your neighbour to lend you a “blanquette”, he or she turns up on your doorstep with a ready-cooked meal. “Blanquette” is a much-loved veal stew (Blanquette de veau) which has little to do with keeping you warm at night. But “une couverture” will help you cover up.
This is a tough one, because although the word can have the same meaning in French as it has in English, it is often used to express just the opposite, i.e. that something is “great”. And it all depends on your tone of voice.
You safest bet to convey that something is terrible in the Anglo-saxon sense of the word is to use the word “horrible”. To make matters worse, saying "pas terrible" doesn't mean "not terrible" like it might seem. it actually means "quite terrible".
This false friend will hardly get you into any trouble, but it sure could cause some confusion with almost any French listener who might wonder where exactly this conversation is going. Tongue will most likely sound like “tongs” (pronounced with a silent s) which means thongs, or flip-flops. If you want to stick to discussing your tongue, say “langue”.
As if an introduction in France wasn’t a fraught experience already, one of the most two-faced of ‘false friends’ in French is the verb “s’introduire”. Naturally, you would think it means ‘to introduce’. It actually means to penetrate, insert or enter. So next time you meet a group of French people and you want to suggest you should all introduce each other”, the verb you’re looking for is “se présenter”.
And lastly, this one is particularly nasty because even though “de luxe” means luxury, as you would imagine, if you want to say “luxurious” don’t try to say it with a French accent, because it will probably come out as “luxurieux” which means “lustful”. If you want to say “you went to a luxurious hotel at the weekend” your French guests might start thinking you spent the last few days at a swingers club.Share this article
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As sad as Irish and Munster rugby fans are about Paul O'Connell's departure from these shores after the World Cup, it looks like it's fair to say the French are very excited to see him in their Top 14.
O'Connell is among a raft of new imports into the Top 14 and French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique have brought out a best XV of the newest players to the league. O'Connell is one of the names in the all-star team that emphasises how hard the challenge will be for the provinces in Europe next year:
It's an exceptional team in most places, one worthy of being a World XV. The likes of Bismarck du Plessis, O'Connell, Duane Vermuelen and Dan Carter are all among the best in their position in the world.
What's more frightening is the names that didn't make that team - Frans Steyn, Hosea Gear, Quade Cooper, Nic White, Samu Manoa, Colin Slade, Sekope Kepu.
For as good as the team is, it is a bit strange that Matt Stevens is the chosen loosehead.
Relating to France or its people or language.
1 mass noun The language of France, also used in parts of Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada, in several countries of northern and western Africa and the Caribbean, and elsewhere.
2 as plural noun the French The people of France collectively.
French is the first or official language of over 200 million people and is widely used as a second language. It is a Romance language that developed from the Latin spoken in Gaul, the northern dialects coming to dominate after Paris became the capital in the 10th century. French became widely used owing to the cultural influence and colonial expansion of France from the 11th century, and it had a very great influence on English as the language of the Norman ruling class
informal Used to apologize for swearing.
Old English Frencisc, of Germanic origin, from the base of Frank.Pronunciation
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