This post is not intended in any way to be a condescending towards the French language. Rather, I hope it shows how much I delight in learning its word gems. Be it the pronunciation, the concept represented, or the creativity in sourcing from other languages, I cannot get over these French words.
First up Mignon, the very word for cute. I love the way that you have to elongate the i and raise your voice as high as it will go. You have to coo it. Even better, use it in the very common phrase of French young ladies, c’est trrrrrrop miiiiignooon = it’s too cute.
Second, dodo, as in Je vais au dodo = I’m going to sleep. How do they get that? Dormir = to sleep. It is a common French thing to do in coining colloquial terms to shorten words, either from the front or the back, and then to repeat the sound you’re left with. The same goes for the colloquial term for prison, which ends up being zon-zon.
Un Brushing. Oh lala such a blatant anglicism I have to laugh each time I see it. In French it means a blow-dry, and you can see quite clearly the thought process there. The same goes for un parking = a car park, and un smoking = a dinner jacket.
French idioms have a lovely wholesome country vibe a lot of the time.My two favourites it must be said are a little outdated, but I use them just the same. It amuses everyone. Garde tes oignons means to look after your onions, which means to mind one’s own business, which I find rather quaint. But the phrase which really rolls off the tongue by way of exclamation would have to be oh la vache, meaning literally oh the cow, translating as simply oh my good grief !!
Then come the animal noises. Look them up – in any language – endless amusement – esp. if you can find the website which actually makes the noises. But my favourite is that of the rooster. In English we write cockadoodledoo. Not bad, I grant you, but the French lets you really roll your rrrrr’s. (And hey it took me a whole year of practicing to be able to do it, so I’ll use that phonetic talent at every opportunity. Cocorico! Cocorrrrrico!! Quite wonderful isn’t it?!
Please share your best ones with me, if my over-enthusiasm hasn’t scared you off already!