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.