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  • French language survival guide

    Posted on 30th November 2015

    French false friends

    Or faux amis in French.  Often, translating from English to French you can have a good stab at what a word may be by trying to use the English one, (ensuring you adopt an Inspector Cluseau-style accent).  However, it’s not always the case. Monnaie :  Not money (argent), but change – as in loose change. Envie : Not envy, but the desire/wish to do something, as in j’ai envie de… Librarie : Not a library (bibliothèque), but a book shop. Location : Not location, but rental, ie location voiture = car rental. Préservatif : This probably requires more care than most.  It absolutely does not mean preservatives.  If you were in a restaurant/shop and tried to politely enquire whether the food contained any préservatifs the response would likely be shock/double take/hysterical laughter….let me explain.  Un préservatif translates as condom!  You have been warned. Why do French people keep wishing you a “bon journey”?  What they are actually saying is, Bonne journée which means have a nice day.  Bon voyage would be have a good journey!    

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