And while on that subject; this little summary of French language oddities might be of some interest to its students:
Without further ado, we present to you some of our favorite French phrases and idioms that will have you cracking up
1. “Avoir le cafard”
The French have a funny way of showing sympathy. The phrase literally translates to – have the cockroach. And all we wanted to imply was to- be down in the dumps or have the blues!
2. “Casser les oreilles”
Breaking the ears is what it literally means. We use this commonly with reference to loud or harsh noise, bad singers or a nagging people. To make the picture clearer we mean highly irritating.
3. “C’est la fin des haricots”
When translated this simply means, the end of the beans. Yes, you guessed correctly. We do want to say the last straw in English or that’s the end of it. Don’t judge us, we take our love for beans very seriously!
4. “Donner sa langue au chat”
This means to give your tongue to the cat although we mean to give up guessing an answer. Honestly, don’t give your tongue to the cat to understand the logic behind this one.
5. “Boire comme un trou”
This phrase means to drink like a hole and is supposed to mean to drink a lot, like a bottomless well. We, the French probably were drinking like a hole when we came up with the phrase.
6. “Devenir chêvre”
On a serious note, this stands for to become a goat. However, in plain English we mean to be driven mad and this phrase is said to have derived inspiration from goats and their short fuse.
7. “Les carottes sont cuites”
It literally means the carrots are cooked, but we say run simply because the speaker means that the outcome of the situation cannot be changed!
8. “Arrête ton char!”
You could feel really royal if you took this one for its literal meaning which is to stop your chariots. However, you are basically being told to stop bluffing. Nothing royal about that one.
9. “Poser un lapin”
Someone was probably looking at a rabbit hole to escape when this phrase was thought of. Literal translation gives you to leave a rabbit, while actually meaning to stand someone up.
10. “Zut alors!”
Surprisingly, this phrase has no literal translation. Why then did we bring this up? Because the phrase means holy smokes or darn! What better way to conclude the list than with a darn!
Every language has its own weirdness and funny little nuances that give it a unique charm. French, is no different. These phrases and other idioms and slangs can not only give you a good laugh, but will help you hone your French as well.
And it’s a shame the Petite Caporal can not come up with some other colourful French expressions. (I understand he is busy checking out the Kronenbourg virus as we speak. )Let’s wish him success with that one!