Tag: French

Money talks not just in English but in other languages as well. Find out in which country people 'buy the pig in the bag' and other money idioms.

Cost in translation: money idioms around the world

Money makes the world go round – every day we use it, think about it, talk about it. It is therefore no surprise that English uses it in a number of idiomatic expressions as well, but money also talks in other languages. The people over at gocompare.com looked at some money idioms from other languages recently and came up […]

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different ways to say hello in other languages

15 ways to say ‘hello’ across the globe

The main use of hello is, of course, to greet others, and it has many other variants which also are used to greet others, such as hi or hey. The first written recording of this spoken utterance was in 1853 in New York Clipper, ‘Hello ole feller, how are yer?’ ‘Hello’ is also used to […]

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English words of French origins, and how to pronounce them correctly

English words of French origin and how to pronounce them

On 14 July 1789, the storming of the Bastille prison in the centre of Paris marked the beginning of the French Revolution. It was a major watershed in the history of Europe and is today still celebrated as a public holiday in France. The event gave the country a national motto as well: liberté, égalité, […]

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Funny food: translating Europe’s unusual food names

Funny food: translating Europe’s unusual food names

As well as its (unfair) reputation for being bland and stodgy, British cuisine is well known for its confusingly and often humorously-named dishes. Tourists are most likely to have heard of pub classics like toad-in-the-hole, a dish of sausages baked in batter, and schoolchildren never tire of tittering at ‘spotted dick’, a suet pudding containing […]

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Why is French so prescriptive (and is English)?

Why is French so prescriptive (and is English)?

People in the UK are routinely amused and bemused by French-speakers’ hyper-sensitivity to language matters and by the steps taken by the French state to regulate linguistic behaviour. In the 60s and 70s, under the sway of Gaullism, successive governments targeted above all the use of Anglicisms. More recently, the Socialists have faced a tide […]

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Dutch slagroom means whipped cream in English

13 foreign words that sound rude in English

If you’re learning a foreign language you’ve probably been in this situation before: getting all excited about coming across a seemingly familiar word only to find out that its actual meaning is very different from what you expected. There’s no doubt that false friends – i.e. words or expressions that have similar forms to the […]

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pies and cakes in English idioms

Pies and cakes in English idioms

It is assumed that the word pie came into English via Old French, from Latin pica ‘magpie’, which in turn is related to picus ‘green woodpecker’. Here, the allusion is perhaps to the various combinations of ingredients of a pie being comparable to the objects randomly collected by a magpie. Its sweet equivalent, the cake, on the other […]

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“A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point. That's basic spelling that every woman ought to know.” - Mistinguett  (1875–1956)

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