To Have an Artichoke’s Heart or a Month of French Idioms From A to Z

 

As announced last week, from April 1st to April 30th and following the alphabetical order, I will post every day but Sundays a French idiomatic expression, its literal English translation, and its proper equivalent or meaning in American English. I’ve had my share of embarrassing (and funny) moments, due to my non-native English status. You’ll see why such moments can happen!

Many bloggers participate to the A to Z challenge with their own themes. If you are one of them and chose to write around language, foreign language, and culture, I’d love to see what you are up to and I hope you’ll stop by to check my posts as well.

 

STARTING WITH THE LETTER A:

 

 

AVOIR UN COEUR D’ARTICHAUT

TO HAVE AN ARTICHOKE’S HEART

TO FALL IN LOVE EASILY

 

As always I love to read your comments. In English, en français, or anything in between.

Comments

  1. I’d love to know where that one came from. Is it to do with the fact artichokes are supposed to be aphrodisiacs?
    Tasha
    Tasha’s Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

    • No, it’s because of the way you peel leaf after leaf and throw them away to reach the heart. The French origin means that people who fall easily in love give a little bit of their love away to anyone who seems interesting at the moment. Thank you for stopping by, Tasha.

  2. ah les jolis artichaut, il faut enlever toutes les feuilles avant d’en atteindre le cœur qui normalement quand l’artichaut est frais est tendre et un vrai délice à déguster 🙂 il est bien à l’opposé d’avoir un cœur de pierre, qui est dure et ne laisse rien passer 🙂
    La définition exacte sur le site expressio.fr qui est une mine d’or pour les expressions françaises :

    http://www.expressio.fr/expressions/avoir-un-coeur-d-artichaut.php

    Origine
    Le cœur désigne ici le centre du végétal, le fond d’artichaut duquel se détachent de nombreuses feuilles, une pour chaque personne présente, tout comme quelqu’un qui a un cœur d’artichaut donne un peu d’amour à chaque personne qui lui semble digne d’intérêt.

    Cette expression qui date de la fin du XIXe siècle vient de la forme proverbiale “cœur d’artichaut, une feuille pour tout le monde”.

    • Merci pour le lien, Pimpf. Je fais court pour ne pas faire trop long! En effet les origines sont super intéressantes pour les expressions idiomatiques, quelque soit la culture. En tous cas, merci pour la visite. Participes tu aussi?
      J’adore aussi les artichauts et je suis contente d’avoir réussi a ce que mes enfants aiment aussi! Le coeur est le meilleur, c’est vrai. Mais j’aime retirer chaque feuille pour y arriver!

  3. That’s an interesting expression. It seems that it might not be one you would want to have applied to you. Is that the case?

  4. Artichokes are one of my favorite veggies. I eat them all the time with a little lemon. Yummmm!

    I couldn’t find an A to Z Badge anywhere on you site (I may have missed it somewhere). If you don’t have one, would you mind posting one somewhere on you sidebar or on your posts to let people know you’re participating. Thanks so much and welcome to A to Z! Awesome start to the challenge.

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com

    • Thank you for stopping by! The way my website is designed makes it hard to add a badge on the side, but I will try to add it in my post, so it will make is easier for everyone. Glad you like my theme. See you!

      • I haven’t been doing that either, I think I’ll do the same and add it to the post. I have a hard time figuring how to add it on the side. My brain has to be in that mode:)

  5. I love artichokes! I must have an artichoke’s heart !!

    Great star, Evelyne.

    • Ha ha! Only you and people who know you can tell…
      The imagery is pretty cool, I think.
      I love artichokes too and here in the States I discovered the artichoke dip, which I like very much as well. See you, Sammy.

  6. Hummm… that’s interesting. I wonder why falling love easily is like an artichoke heart. It is a charming expression though. Hugs! 😀

    • Thank you, Teagan, for stopping by. It’s not a flattering characterisic as it implies that people who have such a heart give easily their love away, like we peel off the leaves of this artichoke to reach the more precious part, which is the heart. See you soon!

  7. Hello Evelyne,
    It takes work to get to the heart of an artichoke. I wonder why the expression means falling in love easily? I love your theme.
    I think artichokes will be on tonight’s menu.

    • You are absolutely right, Claire, about the patience needed to reach the heart of the artichoke. People who fall in love easily don’t have this drive and as they peel the leaves of the artichoke they distribute some of their love away to the people who quickly attract them before moving to another one.
      The very first comment about my post provides a link with the origins of the expressions. Not sure if it’s in English or French. I haven’t checked it out yet. I made my list of idioms on my own and decided against a long post, focusing instead on the awkward literal translation that makes life in a foreign country interesting but also funny and embarrassing. But if you have time you can check this link out. See you tomorrow, then.

  8. Your explanation of the expression makes me think of the young men in P. G. Wodehouse’s comic novels. They’re always “falling in love” with some girl and almost immediately “falling in love” with a different one! It’s funny to watch, but it certainly wouldn’t be funny to be one of the young ladies!

  9. Wow! Very interesting – I love your theme. 🙂 Having lived in Quebec for fifteen years but never having become fluent, I’m looking forward to seeing if I recognize any of your entries. I’ll be reading daily! 😀

  10. Interesting post! Do you know how old this expression is? Is it fairly new, or has it been around for centuries?

  11. I will need to check! Originally Ithought that I would only post the literal translation in English for fun and the proper meaning or American matching idiom whenever possible. But based on a few comments, I might add a line about the origin and its period. Thank you for your interest.

    • Thank you! I love your theme and am following with interest!

      • It seems to go back to the 19th century where the center of vegetables was always called “heart” or “coeur” in French. We still call the center of the artichoke a heart in French as we do for many central things. You can say “le coeur de la ville” when you speak of the center of a town or city, for example. So glad that you like this theme. I have fun to share my affection for my two favorite languages and countries on earth. See you soon, then.

      • Thanks for your response! Sorry I didn’t see it sooner. Americans call it a heart, too. I have family in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I knew Coeur was heart, but I’ve never quite figured out the d’Alene part. 🙂

  12. Bonjour Evelyne ! oui ! intéressante idée ! Si tu cherches une mine – mais tu connais sûrement – c’est le livre de Claude Duneton, “La puce à l’oreille”, ( en livre de poche et nouvelle édition ) qui donne les origines ( présumées, on n’est pas toujours certain ) des expressions de la langue française, dont certaines sont d’origine étrangère et en particulier anglo-saxonne. Voir aussi Henriette Walter, une femme passionnante, je te mets le lien Wikipédia
    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henriette_Walter
    , mais il y a d’autres infos ailleurs. Elle a entre autres écrit sur le fait qu’il y aurait plus de mots français dans la langue anglaise que l’inverse, et l’écouter parler : du bonheur parce qu’elle est drôle. Après, je suis à ta disposition ! Je n’ai pas tout compris à ce que tu as écrit ( la chair de poule devient la chair d’oie, chair étant littéralement bosse ? )
    Enfin, en cas de besoin, fais signe ! 🙂

    • Merci, Simone. Je connais le livre de Duneton mais pas celui de Henriette Walter. Je pense qu’il y a possiblement plus de mots dans la langue française mais je trouve la langue anglaise très forte en ce qui concerne les verbes, ce qui évite d’utiliser trop d’adverbes qui souvent rendent la phrase plus lourde et moins efficace. Par contre nous avons plus d’expressions imagées en France et c’est pour cette raison que j’ai eu envie de faire ce petit challenge en avril.
      Il y a par ailleurs sur le web une mine d’info sur les origines des expressions. Mon but n’est pas de les remplacer mais de traduire d’abord litéralement, ce que j’ai parfois fait dans mes débuts aux USA, provoquant surprise et sourires, comme tu t’en doutes, et de donner leur sens en anglais américain. Mais comme plusieurs lecteurs ont demandé les origines, je vais maintenant ajouter une ou deux lignes à ce propos.
      Ton aide serait super pour les lettres les plus difficiles. Par exemple K, W, and X qui sont franchement un problème. Alors si tu as une idée, please…
      Bump is en effet bosse et a de nombreux autres usages. Mais pour illustrer les petites bosses sur la peau que crée le phénomene de chair de poule, c’est ce mot qui est utilisé. Le fait que ce soit une oie est différent de notre poule nationale et je l’ai appris en traduisant mot pour mot!
      A plus tard alors et merci encore.

  13. Never heard this one, funny 🙂

  14. Interesting. At first glance, I would have thought it would be hard to fall in love, since the artichoke has so many layers protecting its core. Thanks for sharing all these great sayings!

  15. Behind the Story says:

    My first thought was the same as Jennifer’s. Isn’t it funny that many of us didn’t quite understand because we thought of the effort to get to the heart of the artichoke. But, of course, you can eat the leaves one by one before you get to the heart.

  16. How interesting Evelyne – I’m not really familiar with artichokes, so I was struggling to see where the expression came from, but you explained it perfectly!

    • It’s interesting to me as well, Andrea, since I never gave a thought to this expression as it has always been part of my native language and culture. So I enjoy reading what English speakers think. See you soon.

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