vendredi 7 août 2009

Literal translations of common French words

I always like to know the literal translations of words, which most textbooks and teachers don't tell you about.

For example, they translate "Je m'appelle ..." as "My name is..." when the literal translation is "I call myself..."

Some seemingly simple words have interesting literal translations. Some I read about, some I figured out on my own.

= always gets translated as "hello" but it literally means "good day". Bon(ne) (good) and jour (day).

Au revoir
= "goodbye" composed of "a le revoir" --> "au revoir" which literally means "at the re-seeing" ie "till I see you again" or "till we meet again". There are so many French words, which, when translated into English are totally different but when I translate them into Chinese, are the same. Eg the word for goodbye is "zai jian" which literally means "again meet" ie "till we meet again".

S'il vous plaît
= "please". From "si il vous plaît" and literally means "if it pleases you." Informal form is "s'il te plaît."

= "today" but is actually "a le jour de hui" -->; "au jour de hui" literally meaning "at the day of today" (because "hui" sounds exactly like "oui" which means "yes", people were getting confused)

= "welcome" and is made up of the words bien (well) and venu(e) (past tense of come)

Tout le monde
= "everybody" or "everyone" but literally means "all the world"

= "nobody", "noone"... made up of person (person) and ne (not (negation)) ie "not a person."

= "perhaps", "maybe", "possibly" etc... made up of the words peut (can) and être (be).

= traditional French-style wedding cake made of bite-sized spherical custard-filled profiteroles coated and held in place with caramelized sugar. From "croque en bouche" meaning "crunch in mouth."

When I come across more I'll add them to this list!


Enregistrer un commentaire

Related Posts with Thumbnails