How well do you speak French ?

Yesterday I was with an English girlfriend as we strolled along in the French autumn sunshine doing a spot of window-shopping.  They call it leche-vitrine in French, ie window-licking.  It set us thinking about translations of similar phrases and this is what we came up with:-

I’ve got a frog in my throat = j’ai un chat dans la gorge (I have a cat in my throat)

to push up the daisies = manger les pissenlits par la racine (eating the roots of dandelions)

let sleeping dogs lie = ne pas reveiller un chat qui dort (don’t wake a sleeping cat)

go jump in the lake = va te faire cuire un œuf (go cook yourself an egg)

pigs might fly = quand les poules auront des dents (when hens have teeth)

walking on eggshells = marcher sur les oeufs (walking on eggs)

to leave no stone unturned = remuer cie et terre (move the scythe and the earth)

a storm in a tea cup = une tempete dans un verre d’eau (a storm in a glass of water)

to kill two birds with one stone = faire d’une pierre deux coups (use one stone for two hits)

to have your cake and eat it = avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre (have the butter and the money from the butter)

I’m over the moon = je suis aux anges (I am up with the angels)

Don’t leave me on tenterhooks = ne me laisse pas le bec dans l’eau (don’t leave me with my beak in the water)

He has his head in the sand = il fait l’autruche (he’s being an ostrich)

You could have knocked me down with a feather = mes bras m’en sont tombes (my arms fell off)

I am in a right state = je suis dans tous mes etats (I am in all my states)

Interesting isn’t it ?  Many are identical, like “bruler la chandelle par les deux bouts” = to burn the candle at both ends. Some are similar – it appears the British walk only on eggshells whereas the French walk on the actual eggs.  Some are confusing – I’m over the moon in French becomes “ I’m with the angels” which, to us, means dead !!

Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist.  She is widely travelled and writes regularly for magazines and blog sites.  Her sketches are on her web site http://turquoisemoon.co.uk .  Her books are available from Amazon and on Kindle, or can be ordered from several leading book stores.

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Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist.  Her books are available as e-books on this site:-

https://payhip.com/b/tEva            “A Call from France”

https://payhip.com/b/OTiQ          “French Sand”

https://payhip.com/b/BLkF         ”The Man with Green Fingers”

https://payhip.com/b/1Ghq        “Saying Nothing”

They are also available on Amazon & Kindle, or can be ordered as paperbacks from most leading book stores and libraries.

 

Posted on 04/10/2012 by Catherine
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  • David Virebayre

    to leave no stone unturned = remuer cie et terre (move the scythe and the earth)

    It’s actually remuer ciel et terre (move sky and earth)

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