You might understandably be confused if you heard someone say this. At least if you’re in an English-speaking country. Continue reading
I’ve mentioned before how I prefer, while living in Belgium, to watch English-language films in English with French and Dutch subtitles, though that’s not always easily available.
I also mentioned recently that I was going to see Blade Runner 2049 (which is good, but could never be as good as the first film). One of the advantages of watching films with subtitles is that it reveals interesting differences between the two or three languages involved, or gives you interesting translation choices to ponder.
Have you ever met Madame Pipi? You can find her, middle-aged to elderly, usually with glasses and cardigan, outside most public toilets in Belgium, sitting at a table, waiting for you to put your 35, 40, or 50c on her little plate. You might also occasionally cross her path in France, where she goes by Dame Pipi. Why is she there, and why does she want the money? Continue reading
I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to write about English words which are used in French in a slightly different way to how we use them. And this morning I thought, as I’m still using an AZERTY keyboard, I might as well do that today.
I’ve already written about some English words that are used in French, but today I want to focus on three that are a strange combination of seeming logical yet slightly odd to an English speaker’s ear. I should also state that I’m not criticising or mocking French speakers for using these words. Their use makes enough sense for non-native speakers, and once a word enters another language it doesn’t have to follow the rules of its original language. Anyway, the three words are:
The title says it all really, so if you don’t fancy reading, you’re free to go make a cup of tea, or whatever you do when you’re not reading me. Yesterday, I told you how I’d had a cappuccino and blueberry muffin in Liège Guillemins train station (seemingly the only place with reliable and free WiFi). A few hours later I found myself in a similar situation, but things went a little differently.
Exactly one week after Bastille Day, it’s the Belgian National Holiday!
Ok, so you probably weren’t aware of that fact. The holiday hasn’t really entered the public consciousness the way Bastille Day, or other national holidays like St. Patrick’s Day or the Fourth of July have. And I think that’s mainly because Belgium is a small country that doesn’t have such a distinctive national identity compared to other countries. And I think that in turn has a lot of to do with the fact that it’s a complex little country, linguistically.
Bonne 14 juillet! Yes, it’s the French national holiday, known in English as Bastille Day though in French it’s normally just called le 14 juillet, or La Fête nationale. As French is one of the only two languages apart from English that I’m relatively competent in, I’ve written about it here quite a bit, so I won’t repeat myself. I just want to look at two French words that seem like they really should be English words, but aren’t.