Tag Archives: Académie française

French expressions and their English counterparts

“Battre froid,” or “giving someone the cold shoulder”

We catch up with Grenoble-based writer Thora van Male to discuss her forthcoming book, Quand les cochons sauront voler, on French idioms and their English equivalents.  Continue reading French expressions and their English counterparts

“I don’t mean to offend you” – English conversations with the French

English is increasingly common in Grenoble, not least in graffiti
English is increasingly common in Grenoble, not least in graffiti !

I used to wonder why, very often, when I tried to speak French in a restaurant, shop, post office or market, for example, the reply would come back to me in English. Given that I am at least semi-competent in French, I couldn’t help feel offended at being treated as a tourist in the country I called home. I don’t think it would be presumptuous to say that I am not alone in this experience. When I first arrived in Grenoble I made a school-boyish but pardonable error in asking: Est-ce que vous avez du bière? at a café, having not quite nailed down the gender of that favourite English beverage. The waitress looked at me as if I was from out of space, before replying “Not bière”. Continue reading “I don’t mean to offend you” — English conversations with the French