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1001 raisons de haïr les français

We found this pearl in a 1987 French book - don’t worry, as with French grammar, there are always exceptions confirming the rule!

You will find help with the difficult vocabulary at the end of the text.

Vous vous promenez à New York, vous achetez le Village Voice, et vous tombez sur: “1001 raisons de haïr les Français”.

Les Français? Des gens hypocrites, arrogants, désagréables, vaniteux, pompeux, sales… bref, la pire engeance* que la terre ait jamais portée. Les Froggies ont réussi cependant longtemps à blouser* les autres peuples en mettant en avant leur supériorité culturelle. A présent c’est fini, plus personne n’est dupe: les français ont réussi l’exploit de devenir la nationalité la plus détestée.

C’est ce qu’affirme Howard Smith, le journaliste du Village Voice qui a écrit ce pamphlet. Il lance même un appel à tous les francophobes et leur demande de l’aider à dresser l’acte d’accusation contre ces salopards de Frenchies. Que chacun d’entre vous, demande-t-il, m’écrive pour me donner ses raisons de haïr les Français, et a nous tous, nous réussirons sans doute a réunir plus de mille accusations. Pour sa part, il en a trouvé cinquante-neuf, dont voici quelques exemples.

  • Les Français ne connaissent pas les paroles de leur hymne national.
  • Les femmes ont du poil aux jambes.
  • Les sportifs les plus nuls.
  • Le fin du fin* de leur conception du patriotisme: l’alcoolisme.
  • Le seul peuple à glorifier ses prisons: la Bastille, le Club Méditerranée, le Festival de Cannes.
  • Râler contre les USA en portant des sweat-shirts “University of Michigan”.
  • Ils fument trop et leur cigarettes sont dégueulasses*.

Et comme si ça ne suffisait pas, ils ont importé chez nous la quiche lorraine: rien que pour ça, on devrait les fusiller.

La semaine suivante, double page dans le Village Voice. Les lecteurs avaient répondu par centaines. Certains s’indignaient que le Village Voice, célèbre pour sa ligne résolument libérale, contestataire, pro-féministe, anti-raciste, ait pu publier un article aussi haineusement francophobe. Mais la plupart entraient allègrement dans le jeu. Ils s’empressaient de communiquer leur griefs contre les Français:

  • L’existentialisme.
  • Le roquefort.
  • La guillotine.
  • Leur incapacité à prononcer le “h” anglais.
  • Ils passent leur temps à blaguer* sur les Suisses ou les Belges, mais ne supportent pas qu’on en fasse autant à leur égard.
  • La dictature de leur soi-disant grands couturiers tels Cardin ou Saint-Laurent.

Horreur! Les Américains nous haïssent donc tant?

Une seule réponse. Isolée dans ce déferlement francophobe, une lettre lapidaire* et vengeresse*: “Une raison suffisante de haïr les Américains: Howard Smith.”

J’appelle Howard Smith au téléphone.

“Je ne comprends pas, m’a répondu l’homme qui déteste les français. Vous êtes française et vous voulez me voir? Pourquoi?

-Peut-être pour venger dans le sang l’honneur de mes compatriotes?

-Ca ne m’étonnerait pas, les Français n’ont aucun sens de l’humour; de leur part, le pire ne m’étonne plus.”

J’arrive dans son bureau.

“Vous connaissez bien la France?

-Et comment? J’y suis allé plusieurs fois, et j’y ai fait de longs séjours. Je sais donc de quoi je parle. Mais attention, j’aime la France, je ne déteste que les Français. Quel choc de découvrir qu’un si beau pays est peuplé de si horribles gens!

-Auriez-vous eu des problèmes particuliers avec les Français?

-Rien de spécial, tout simplement le même genre d’ennuis qu’ont tous les étrangers en visite en France. Les patrons de café prêts à lâcher les chiens sur vous, les chauffeurs de taxi si odieux à Paris qu’on souhaite les jeter dans la Seine… La vie quotidienne à la française!

-Et les femmes françaises, vous n’auriez pas eu une histoire d’amour malheureuse, par hasard?

-Moi, avec une française, surement pas!”

Source: Horizons, Patrick Brockman and Gisèle Guarisco

Vocabulary:

  • une engeance = a mob
  • blouser quelqu’un = to con someone
  • le fin du fin = “la crème de la crème”
  • dégueulasse = disgusting
  • blaguer = to joke
  • lapidaire = succinct
  • vengeresse = revengeful

French and English Idiomatic Expressions

 

French Idiom of the Day

 

Do you know how to translate this expression into French?

It is the pot calling the kettle black.

Answer:

C'est l'hôpital qui se moque de la charité.

Word for word translation would be: "It is the hospital that is laughing at charity."

It is quite rare to find French idioms which will not confuse you when you try to translate them literally or interpret their meaning.

If you are interested in learning more about idioms, please follow our blog. Furthermore, our French teachers will be more than happy to include them in their one-to-one lessons. This adds to the highly entertaining French lessons we provide.

Let us prove to you that learning French can be fun!

 

And what about this French idiom #2 ?

J'ai du pain sur la planche.

(Literally translated as "I have bread on my board".)

Answer:

I have a lot on my plate.

You can use this French expression appropriately when you feel overwhelmed with the number of tasks you have to complete, either at work or in everyday life.

 

French Idiom #3

Je ne suis pas dans mon assiette...

This one is a funny expression ("I am not in my plate") which has a completely different equivalent in English: I am a little bit under the weather (in French: "je suis un peu sous le temps/la météo"). 

 

However, if you are feeling really good, you can say: "J'ai la pêche" or "j'ai la patate", which is like "je suis en forme" (literally: "I have the peach/the potato")!

 

French Idiom #4

Today's French idiomatic expression is:

Un "tien" vaut mieux que deux "tu l'auras".

This idiomatic expression became famous through Jean de la Fontaine's fable "Le petit poisson et le pêcheur." 

Essentially, this means that it is better to keep what one has rather than to risk losing it by trying to get something better.

In English one would say: "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

Another French idiomatic expression with the same meaning is: "mieux vaut l'oeuf maintenant que la poule plus tard", which translates "it is better to have the egg now than the chick later".

 

French Idiom #5

"Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tué",

which translates into: "do not count your chicken before they are hatched".

This is  a wise piece of advice meaning that you should not rely on something which has not yet happened.

Once again, we owe this idiomatic expression to Jean de la Fontaine who used it in one of his fables, "L'ours et les deux compagnons".

 

French Idiom #6

"Porter le chapeau" is a French idiomatic expression which literally means, "to wear the hat".

The meaning of this expression is to take the blame for something, to be a scapegoat ("un bouc-émissaire" in French).

It is the equivalent of the English expressions "to carry the can".

Alternatively, "to pin something on someone" translates as "faire porter le chapeau" ("to make someone wear the hat", literally).

 

French Idiom #7

"C'est tiré par les cheveux", a French idiomatic expression which in English translates into "it is far-fetched".

Example: "Cette histoire est un peu tirée par les cheveux" means "this story is a bit far-fetched". 

This idiomatic expression is used when we describe ideas which do not appear to be logical or realistic. It translate word for word as "pulling someone by the hair", meaning forcing this person to move when not necessarily inclined to do so. By extension it applies to reasonings or ideas whose meaning would require a lot of investigation to be explained and comprehended.

 

French Idiom #8

"Il n'a pas sa langue dans sa poche" - We use this idiomatic expression when we are talking about someone who is outspoken, who always speaks their mind. 

This means literally: "He hasn't got his tongue in his pocket".

This French idiomatic expression is often used to describe a person who is very opinionated and speaks frankly. 

 

French Idiom of the day #9

"C'est la goutte d'eau qui fait déborder le vase"... This idiomatic expression means "it is the last straw that broke the camel's back."

In French we use this idiom to indicate that you have had enough and the last event in a series of unpleasant events is the last one you can cope with. 

 

Today's French idiom #10

"Cela m'a mis la puce à l'oreille".    

The translation of this French idiomatic expression is "it alerted me".

For example, we could say: "Son attitude m'a mis la puce à l'oreille", which translates as "his behaviour alerted me".

 

French Idiom #11

The French idiomatic expression of the week is "avoir une dent contre quelqu'un".

Although the literal translation of this French idiom into English is "to have a tooth against someone", it actually means "to hold a grudge agains someone". 

The French sentence, "il a une dent contre moi" translates into English as "he holds a grudge against me". 

 

French Idiom #12

Today's French idiomatic expression is: "Les chiens aboient, la caravane passe". It literarily translates as "the dogs are barking, the caravan passes by". 

The equivalent of this idiom in English is another idiomatic expression: "It's like water off a duck's back". 

We use this expression in French when we want to express indifference towards a particular behaviour or situation. 

 

French Idiom #13

"Ce n'est pas la mer à boire." What does this French idiomatic expression mean? 

We use it to mean that it is not too much to ask, "it is not the end of the world". 

You can ask someone a favour or a service and then use that expression. 

"-Peux-tu m'aider? Ce n'est pas la mer à boire!" ("-Can you help me? It's not that hard!")

This expression literally means: "it's not the sea to drink", meaning it is not as impossible as it would be to drink the whole sea.

 

French Idiom #14 

"Tu n'aurais pas les chevilles qui enflent?"

We ask someone if "their ankles are not swelling" when we find that they are showing off a little bit.

The French idiomatic expression "avoir les chevilles qui enflent" is used after someone has said how good or successful they are at something.

By extension, we also use "les chevilles vont bien?" instead of the full idiomatic expression, which means "are your ankles okay?".  

 

French Idiom #15 

Today's idiom is "être pris la main dans le sac". It literally translates as "to be caught with the hand in the bag". 

There are similar idiomatic expressions in English such as "to be caught red-handed" or "to be caught the hand in the biscuit tin (or box)".  

 

French Idiom #16

"Tomber dans les pommes". What does this French idiomatic expression mean? Literally, it translates as "to fall in the apples".

If you say "il est tombé dans les pommes", it is the equivalent of saying "il s'est évanoui" (he fainted). So when someone passes out, in French we say that "they fell in the apples".

 

French Idiom #17

What does the French idiomatic expression "se noyer dans un verre d'eau" mean?

When someone is unable to face a small problem or challenge, we say "il se noie dans un verre d'eau", which translates as "he is drowning in a glass of water".

The English equivalent is "to make a mountain out of a molehill". The meaning of these idiomatic expressions in French and English is also close to the French expression "en faire des montagnes" (to make or create mountains). 


French Idiom #18

It's time for another French idiomatic expression!

"Prends ton parapluie, il pleut des cordes!"

We use the expression "pleuvoir des cordes" when there is very heavy rain or what is sometimes called "showers". It literally means "it's raining ropes". The meaning of this French idiom is similar to the English expression "it's raining cats and dogs".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French Grammar Tips

Is a French word masculine or feminine?

 

It may be confusing at times to determine the gender of a French noun.

The gender of nouns is on the whole, arbitrary. 

Here are a few tips to help you along the way if you are a beginner French learner.

 

Feminine French words:

Nouns ending in:

-ette such as: maisonette, courgette or fourchette

-tion such as:  nation, augmentation or addition

-sion such as:  pension, tension or mission

-ure such as: sculpture, voiture or cure

-té  such as: variété, qualité or difficulté

-ence such as différence, conséquence or absence

-ance such as abondance, performance or tolérance

-ie such as partie, vie or série

 

Masculine French words:

Nouns ending in:

-eau such as: bateau, chapeau, oiseau

-ment such as: établissement, paiement or évènement 

-teur such as: acteur, professeur or directeur

-phone such as: microphone, saxophone or dictaphone

-scope such as: horoscope, téléscope or stethoscope

 

Of course there are exceptions to the rule. As we say in French, "l'exception confirme la règle."

On our blog, we will soon explore exceptions as well as other tips to help you learn the gender of French nouns.

 

Which preposition should I use for countries ?

 

I live in France. J'habite en France.

I am going to France. Je vais en France. 

You may have noticed that although you change prepositions in English depending on the verb and the type of action it involves, in French you will keep the same preposition for a given country.

The trick is to know which preposition to use.

For masculine countries which start with a consonant, we use "au": au Royaume-Uni, au Portugal, au Canada, au Pakistan, au Mexique, etc. 

For all feminine countries and masculine countries starting with a vowel, we use "en": en Italie (f), en Iran (m), en Australie (f), en Colombie (f), etc.

If a country is plural, we use "aux": aux Etats-Unis, aux Pays-Bas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

French Joke of the Day

French joke of the day

La blague du jour!

The English literal translation of the following French joke is:

 

What is the difference between a can and an aquarium?

Answer:

In the can, the peas are green (les pois sont vets) and in the aquarium the fish are red (les poissons rouges/les pois sont rouges). 

It is "les poissons" sounding like "les pois sont" which renders the play on words funny.

 

Quelle est la différence entre une boîte de conserve et un aquarium?

 Réponse: 

Dans la boîte de conserve, les pois sont verts et dans l'aquarium, les poissons rouges!

 

French joke number two:

What is the difference between God and a French person?

Answer:

God does not take himself for a French person.

 

Quelle est la difference entre Dieu et un Français?

Réponse:

Dieu ne se prend pas pour un Français.

 

Another French Joke today!

 

French joke number three:

Qu'est-ce qui tombe sans faire de bruit?

Réponse:

La nuit.

 

What falls without making any sound?

Answer:

The night.

 

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