All These Little French and American Words…

 

Z

 

Welcome to the last day of the A to Z Challenge!

Today two words for the letter Z

*one English verb and noun with two common meanings in the USA and in France, but also additionnal meanings whether it’s used in the USA or in France.

As a bonus to celebrate the end of the challenge:

*one French interjection, a favorite of my mother who never swears, that triggered the title for a song and an album from a famous American musician.

 

ZAP

As a verb and a noun Zap has countless meanings in the USA.

The French say Zapper for Zap and use it also to describe channel-hopping and the act of cutting the commercials.

By extension they created the words Zappeur and Zappeuse for the people who channel-hop.

Zap is also used in France to depict people switching from one idea to another or the act of completely forgetting something.

For example:

‘J’ai complètement zappé cette histoire’ would be literally translated by ‘I totally zapped this story.

 

En tant que verbe et nom, Zap a énormément de définitions aux USA. Tout comme en France, le verbe est utilisé pour sauter d’une chaine de télé à une autre et pour couper les pubs.

Mais zap est aussi utilisé dans d’autres contextes.

Quelques exemples :

1- quand une vague de froid tardive zap les fleurs printanières.

2- quand on zap un plat au micro ondes.

3- quand dans un film les aliens zap les occupants d’un vaisseau spatial.

4- pour imiter le son zap d’une arme à laser.

5- quand une douleur zap une partie du corps (douleur fulgurante).

6- quand dans un film un personnage zap du présent au futur par l’intermediaire d’une machine fictive.

7- quand une mauvaise note zap la chance d’un élève de réussir son examen (tuer la chance).

Par contre zap n’est pas utilisé avec la notion de passer d’une idée à l’autre ni avec celle d’oublier une histoire.

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

 

 

ZUT ALORS

Zoot Allures by Frank Zappa is a pun on the popular French interjection Zut Alors, an interjection that my maman uses whenever she feels the urge to say a bad word but doesn’t want to. Zut can also be used.

Zut Alors or Zut is to the French what Shoot is to the Americans.

Embed from Getty Images

 

 

This concludes the A to Z Challenge that I, among hundreds, started on April 1.

Thank you so much, everyone, for your support as I traveled along the bumpy road of our alphabet.

A particular thank you to the readers who have added words for some specific letters and even suggested some that I’ve been gladly using.

Merci pour votre support, vos suggestions, vos commentaires, et vos ‘like.’

Have a great weekend. See you later, here or on your blog.

Bon weekend à toutes et à tous et à plus tard, ici ou sur vos blogs.

photo(7)

 

 

 

 

All These Little French and American Words…

 Y

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge!

And I thought X would be my challenge…

Two expressions and not a word for the letter Y

*One is used in the USA and the other one in France. None has an equivalent when literally translated.

 

YOUR CALL

This popular expression in the USA has no direct translation in French. The closest meaning is ‘c’est ton/votre choix, c’est ta/votre decision.’

Depending on the context, ‘comme tu veux’ or ‘comme vous voulez’ is a possibility.

Your call ou It’s your call est une expression très fréquente aux USA. Elle s’utilise dans une discussion personnelle ou professionnelle quand une décision est laissée au choix de son interlocuteur.

Par exemple:

A- Est-ce que tu préfères manger mexicain ou japonais ce soir?

B- J’aime les deux. It’s your call. (Comme tu veux. C’est ta décision.)

 

photo(5)

My fiancé found this vintage British phone in London in the late 1980s.

Should I buy it, he asked me.

Your call, I said.

It was mine to move it with us to the USA.

 

Y ALLER MOLLO

The French expression Y aller mollo implies taking it slow, doing something without rush or exaggeration.

For example:

Vas-y mollo avec ma voiture quand tu l’empruntes samedi soir.

Take it easy with my car when you borrow it Saturday night.

 

Y aller mollo can also be used with the negation: Ne pas y aller mollo.

For example:

Tu n’y es pas allé mollo quand tu as dit à ton collègue qu’il était un bon à rien.

You went overboard when you told your colleague that he was a good-for-nothing.

 

 

Do you know of a French or English word starting with the letter Y that has a different meaning whether it’s used in France or the USA?

Connaissez-vous un mot français ou anglais commençant par la lettre Y qui a un sens différent selon qu’il soit utilisé en France ou aux Etats Unis?

Promise I’m back tomorrow with not only One word but Two starting with the letter Z!

All These Little French and American Words…

X

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge!

 

Finding these little French and American words has not exactly been a piece of cake or pas du gâteau in French.

I knew from the beginning that when letter X and I would cross paths I would meet the heck of a challenge.

So for today’s letter X, instead of posting about an identical English or French word that carries a different meaning whether it’s used in the USA or in France, I’ll give you one term that conveys the exact same meaning in both countries.

Used in France and in the USA, my two favorite homes on earth, this term is also used in other countries around the world, proof that some words have the power to unite us.


XOXO

 

XOXO is a casual term used at the end of a letter, email, or text to express hugs and kisses to friends or family members. Probably good to avoid in business.

There is controversy as to which letter (‘O’ or ‘X‘) represents which action (‘hug’ or ‘kiss’).

Do we really care if X or O represents the arms or the mouth as long as we send each other hugs and kisses?

In addition XOXO is also an American brand of clothes and accessories for young women and children.

And XOXO is also short for eXtensible Open XHTML Outlines. Not as cute and sweet as hugs and kisses, but very useful, though. Ask any high tech person in your life for more details…

 

photo(4)

 

Do you know of a French or English word starting with the letter X that has a different meaning whether it’s used in France or the USA?

Connaissez-vous un mot français ou anglais commençant par la lettre X qui a un sens différent selon qu’il soit utilisé en France ou aux Etats Unis?

 

See you tomorrow with the letter Y

 

 

All These Little French and American Words…

 W

 

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge!

One word for the letter W

*One English word with a different meaning whether it’s used in the USA or France.

 

WARNINGS

The English word ‘warnings’ is used (always in the plural form) by French drivers to say ‘hazard lights.’

The real French noun to designate the set of hazard lights on a car is ‘feux de détresse,’ literally ‘fires in case of distress.’ ‘Feux’ would mean ‘lights’ in this context.

 

Aux USA les warnings français s’appellent, ‘hazard lights.’ Leurs règles d’utilisation varient d’état en état. Je me souviens de l’appelation ‘feux de détresse’ en France.  Est-ce toujours utilisé? Davantage ou moins que ‘warnings?’

Un warning étant un avertissement en anglais, je trouve le choix français assez approprié.

 

photo(2)

From my car to yours.

 

Do you know of a French or English word starting with the letter W that has a different meaning whether it’s used in France or the USA?

Connaissez-vous un mot français ou anglais commençant par la lettre W qui a un sens différent selon qu’il soit utilisé en France ou aux Etats Unis?

 

See you tomorrow with the letter X

All These Little French and American Words…

V

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge!

One word for the letter V

*one French word with a slight different meaning whether it’s used in France or in the USA

 

 

VOILÀ

The French word voilà literally means « See there » or « There it is. »

For example, a French mother could tell her child, “Voilà ton sac avec tes affaires de gym,” or “There is your bag with your sport gear.”

There is no meaning of triumphant revelation when the French say, « Voilà. »

In fact, I think there is sometimes a nuance of disappointment when I say, « Et voilà. »

For example, if I’m inattentive and miss my exit on the highway, I could say, “et voilà,” to acknowledge my mistake and imply that that I’m responsible since I was not paying attention.

 

 

Aux Etats Unis voilà traduit la notion de révélation généralement avec une note triomphante. Voilà est utilisé pour attirer l’attention ou pour suggérer quelque chose qui apparaitrait comme par magie.

Le mot peut être par exemple utilisé dans des shows de cuisine quand la liste des ingrédients nécessaires à la réalisation d’un plat est énumérée jusqu’à l’annonce du plat.

Boudoirs, mascarpone, café, marsala, and voilà un tiramisu!

 

HPIM3496

 A long hike, starting at midnight, under the full moon, arrival betwen five and six a.m. at the top of Half Dome in Yosemite, and voilà the view, right before sunrise. 

For a better view, click on the photo.

 

Do you know of a French or English word starting with the letter V that has a different meaning whether it’s used in France or the USA?

Connaissez-vous un mot français ou anglais commençant par la lettre V qui a un sens différent selon qu’il soit utilisé en France ou aux Etats Unis?

See you tomorrow with the letter W

 

All These Little French and American Words…

 

U

Welcome to the last week of the A to Z Challenge!

This last stretch toward the letter Z is more challenging and I hope you’ll bear with me.

One word for the letter U

* One English verb and noun with similar meanings in France and in the USA and a couple of exceptions.

 

UPGRADE

Since the phenomenal explosion in the high tech industry happened in the USA, it is sometimes difficult, even awkward, to translate the vocabulary related to computers, the Internet, and more recently social media in other languages.

French is no exception.

Since the early -00’s, countless American English words, phrases and expressions, originally related to the high tech business started to be used on a daily basis in France. Dictionaries have been updated to show these changes.

Upgrade is one of these words.

 

Typically, the ending –ER is added to an English verb, giving it a more French appearance.

In this manner, the verb ‘to upgrade’ is ‘upgrader’ in French.

The meanings of the verb are the same in French and in English: improve, increase, or modernize.

However, upgrade is also used in France to describe someone’s promotion.

For examples:

“I’ve been upgraded to manager.”

“On her flight to Dallas, she has been upgraded to business class.”

“The hotel upgraded us to a suite.”

Recently, I was reading a story written in English and set in a contemporary American urban area. One of the characters was complimenting his buddy on his new girlfriend and said, “I see you’ve received a girlfriend update.”

In this specific situation, I undestood that ‘upgrade’ was used to describe an improvement related to a person, made in comparison to a previous person and to mock that person.

Upgrade as a noun has the same meanings of improvement and modernization in the USA and France. However, it isn’t used in France to describe an upward grade or uphill slope.

So, my American friends, how do you use ‘upgrade?”

 

 

HPIM4725

My son and I on a steep upgrade section of the trail leading to the top of Clouds Rest, in Yosemite National Park.

Aux Etats Unis comme en France, ‘upgrade’ utilisé en tant que verbe signifie améliorer, augmenter, moderniser…

En tant que nom, ‘upgrade’ aux Etats Unis décrit une pente ou piste ascendante et traduit tout comme en France le sens d’amélioration, d’augmentation, de modernisation, particulièrement dans le milieu high tech et business en général.

Par contre l’utilisation de ‘upgrade’ pour décrire la promotion de quelqu’un est incorrecte en anglais. Aux USA on upgrade une chambre d’hôtel, une place sur un vol (avion), mais pas une personne.

Utiliser ‘upgrade’ pour une personne est alors péjoratif puisqu’il y a une référence à la personne précédente.

Par exemple : Je vois que tu as reçu une upgrade côté petite amie.

Sous-entendu, celle d’avant n’était pas terrible, ou en tous cas, celle ci est mieux.

Alors, mes amies et amis français, dites-moi, utilisez-vous le verbe et le nom upgrade dans d’autres contextes?

 

Do you know of a French or English word starting with the letter U that has a different meaning whether it’s used in France or the USA?

Connaissez-vous un mot français ou anglais commençant par la lettre U qui a un sens différent selon qu’il soit utilisé en France ou aux Etats Unis?

 

See you tomorrow with the letter V

Trapped in Paris and a Little Bit More…

trapped_in_paris_cover_for_kindle-1

One of the bonuses when writers attend conferences and book events is to meet other writers. There is a genuine and quick sense of recognition among people who write for children. And of course there is always the one who goes the extra mile.

Like Christina Benjamin. When our paths crossed at a book festival this winter, I was impressed by the quality of her books and her gorgeous promotional material. We spoke about our books and projects and she spontaneously offered to showcase my YA novel Trapped in Paris on Pages Burners, one of her websites.

You can read her review here and listen to the short interview and watch the video clip here.

My daughter #3 was on her spring break when I asked her to play the interviewer role. She immediatley agreed. My youngest daughter is the one who encouraged me to write when I started jotting down words and sentences in my notebook and didn’t believe that I would ever write in English. As any typical first-generation born-American child she is often my teacher. She calls me Mom and Maman. Our conversations are always a blend of the two languages that cement our home. Here, though, we kept it in English. With a little bit of French touch. Of course.

I want to thank Christina and my daughter for their support and kindness.

And You, for following my writing adventures and other things of my life on this blog.

 

All These Little French and American Words…

T

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge!

Three words for the letter T

*all three of them are spelled like English words, sound like English words but aren’t exactly English words.

*all three of them have just a little French touch.

 

(A PAIR OF) TENNIS

A pair of tennis shoes is called tennis or a pair of tennis in French.

For example I would say in French: Je mets mes tennis. And not: I put my tennis shoes on.

The game is called tennis as well. And American sneakers are called baskets in France.

Les américains spécifient tennis shoes pour des tennis our une paire de tennis. Les baskets françaises sont des sneakers aux USA.

 

 

TENNISMAN OR TENNISWOMAN 

A tennis player is called a tennisman or a tenniswoman in French.

Aux Etats Unis un tennisman ou une tenniswoman s’appelle un tennis player.

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

TALKIE-WALKIE

A Walkie-Talkie is called Talkie-Walkie in France.

Talkie-walkie pour walkie-talkie. Une simple petite inversion dans l’ordre des mots.

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

 

Do you know of a French or English word starting with the letter T that has a different meaning whether it’s used in France or the USA?

Connaissez-vous un mot français ou anglais commençant par la lettre T qui a un sens différent selon qu’il soit utilisé en France ou aux Etats Unis?

 

See you on Monday with the letter U

Meanwhile, I wish you all a great weekend.

A lundi pour la lettre U

En attendant, je vous souhaite à tous un super weekend.

All These Little French and American Words…

 S

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge!

Three words for the letter

*Two English words with different meanings whether they are used in France or in the USA

*One French word with some similar and some different meanings whether the word is used in France or in the USA

 

SLIP

Slip in France designates a man’s brief and also a woman’s panties, although the most common term for women’s underwear is ‘culotte’ and often ‘petite culotte.’ After all don’t we all know that every cute thing is small?

L’équivalent du slip français se dit “brief” pour les hommes et “panties” pour les femmes. Les caleçons s’appellent des “boxers” et of course il y a toutes sortes de petites culottes… Les sous-vêtements en général sont des “underwear.”

Mais un slip aux USA c’est aussi:

*une combinaison féminine qui se porte sous une robe.

*un document écrit qu’une école envoie à la maison pour qu’un parent le signe, autorisant ainsi un voyage scolaire ou déplacement académique ou sportif, par exemple, d’un enfant mineur sous la supervision de l’école. On appelle ce document un permission slip.

*une erreur, un oubli, une chute ou encore dans certains cas un reçu.

*to slip se traduit entre autres par glisser ou enfiler.

Ce qui explique le choix du mot slip pour désigner un certain type de sous-vêtements français.

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

 SMOKING

In France a tuxedo is called a smoking, from the “Smoking Jacket.” Once, I told my preschooler daughter’s teacher that I loved seeing a man in a smoking. That’s how I learned how to say tuxedo.

Le smoking est un tuxedo ou tux pour les américains, alors que smoking se réfère à l’acte de fumer et par extension à quelques autres expressions dérivées, mais jamais à l’ensemble pantalon veste élégant.

 tuxedo

SILHOUETTE

This noun of French origin has several meanings in France and the USA.

Two are common to the two countries :

*the image of a person or an object consisting of the outline with the silhouetted object most often being black.

*the dark shape and outline of someone or something visible against a lighter background, especially in dim light.

Three meanings are different :

*In France a silhouette is the equivalent of “figure.”  It will be used to describe the figure of both men and women, unlike in the USA where ‘figure’ is almost always used to describe the bodily shape of a woman.

*In the USA, a silhouette is also the overall outline of a garment in the fashion industry.

*In the USA, silhouette is also a verb that means to outline, to define.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Ce nom d’origine française a plusieurs sens en France et aux Etats Unis.

Deux sont communs aux deux pays :

*L’image d’une personne ou d’un objet découpé sur un fonds, le plus souvent noir.

*La forme sombre d’une personne ou d’un objet visible contre un fonds plus clair, particulièrement sous un éclairage tamisé.

Le mot silhouette est aussi utilisé dans les contextes suivants:

*En France, pour décrire l’apparence physique d’une personne. Par exemple : Une silhouette élégante. Aux Etats Unis le mot ‘figure’ sera dans ce cas utilisé, principalement pour décrire la silhouette d’une femme. On dira par exemple : Katie has a great figure.

*Silhouette aux Etats Unis est aussi utilisé dans le monde de la couture pour désigner le contour simple d’un vêtement.

*Finalement le nom silhouette peut aussi être un verbe aux Etats Unis. Il se se traduit souvent par (se) dessiner en français. Par exemple: “Les ruines du chateau se dessinaient contre le ciel,” deviendra en anglais: ” The ruins of the castle were silhouetted against the sky.”

 

 

Do you know of a French or English word starting with the letter S that has a different meaning whether it’s used in France or the USA?

Connaissez-vous un mot français ou anglais commençant par la lettre S qui a un sens différent selon qu’il soit utilisé en France ou aux Etats Unis?

 

See you tomorrow with the letter T

All These Little French and American Words…

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge!

 Four words for the letter R

* Four French words with similar spelling, except for one, in French and English, but different meanings whether it’s used in France or the USA

 

 ROBE

The French word “robe” designates a woman’s dress, but also the apparel of the clergy or the black cloak worn by lawyers and judges. It is also used to describe the color of wine and to designate the coat of some animals, particularly horses and cattle. But a robe in French is never a dressing gown or a bathrobe.

Aux Etats Unis le mot robe désigne aussi le vêtement porté par le clergé et les juges. Mais une robe est aussi un peignoir et un peignoir de bain se dira “bathrobe.”

 

Embed from Getty Images

RENDEZ-VOUS/RENDEZVOUS

Celui ci est un clin d’oeil à mes premières semaines aux USA et aussi parce qu’un blogueur français l’a évoqué au début de ce challenge.

Rendez-vous est en effet l’un de ces petits mots de la vie quotidienne qui m’a mis dans des situations amusantes, voire embarrassantes, dans mes premiers temps en Californie, quand j’ai appelé par exemple le pédiatre et le gynéco pour leur demander un rendez-vous. J’ai aussi pris rendez-vous avec le coiffeur et quelques mamans que je venais de rencontrer pour nous retrouver au terrain de jeux. Sans commentaire.

Aux Etats Unis on dit “appointmentpour tous rendez-vous professionnels.

Rendezvous s’utilise pour un rendez-vous amoureux et s’écrit sans trait d’union.

 

One small word that put me in funny and even embarrassing situations in my early days in California when I called my baby’s pediatrician and my OB to book a rendezvous. I also called a hairstylist and a couple of moms I had just met for a rendezvous as well. No comment.

I had an excuse: in France rendez-vous means appointment, regardless of the type of rendez-vous.

In French rendez-vous is hyphenated.

 

RÉSUMÉ

Le mot résumé désigne un curriculum vitae pour les américains.

In French, résumé means summary. French speakers would use instead curriculum vitæ, or its abbreviation, C.V.

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

RISQUÉ

Risqué aux Etats Unis se traduit par “osé” en français.

In French, the meaning of risqué is “risky,” with no sexual connotation. Otherwise the French would use “osé” (daring). “Osé” is not used for people themselves, only for things (such as pictures, movies…) or attitudes.

 

 

Do you know of a French or English word starting with the letter R that has a different meaning whether it’s used in France or the USA?

Connaissez-vous un mot français ou anglais commençant par la lettre R qui a un sens différent selon qu’il soit utilisé en France ou aux Etats Unis?

 

See you tomorrow with the letter S

 

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: