Living in France, and hearing it spoken every day, one learns some of the nuances of common words that your teacher never told you.
So, I’m tackling a few of these for you, but know that some of the differences are regional. If you have corrections for me, or more expressions to offer, jump right into the Comments section!
Photo: If you want to pass yourself off as French, get the beret, the scarf, the Gitane, the croissant, and get those common expressions right. My British friend Paul has really nailed it.
Friends, but what sort?
ami, amie: as you may have learned, this word means friend. And so It does, but a long-term or close friend. You don’t throw this word around lightly.
Instead, for a casual friend, use copain, copaine.
Note that petit ami or petite amie means a boyfriend or girlfriend. Beware: un copain is a friend, but mon copain is a boyfriend, ma copine is a girlfriend. As in a love interest.
Aimer is to love. Aimer bien is to like. Go figure!
Bienvenue Chez Nous!
In English we say “welcome” when someone shows up at our house. In France, it’s tricky, I’d be interested in hearing more thoughts on this. Nicole says this word may used to welcome someone to your house, but only if they’ve never been there before. After that, you must get creative: Je suis contente de te revoir, for example: I’m happy to see you again.
Students usally learn lentement for slowly.
That’s correct, but for most uses of this word, the French use doucement. Doucement means gently, softly, calmly, lightly. As in, Parlez doucement, s’il vous plâit!
It all starts with Hello:
Bonjour is always correct (except on the phone)
Less formal: Salut
Very familiar, with good friends or young children: Coucou
To answer the phone: allô (ah-low). This is just about the only time this word is used.
Getting the weather right
The French love to talk about the weather.
When it’s frickin’s freezing, they’ll invariably say, c’est pas chaud, (it’s not hot), accompanied by a French shrug.
You knowIl fait beau means it’s nice , sunny weather, but you should know these common weather expressions as well:
Il fait bon: it’s warm
il fait frais, it's cool-ish
Il fait lourd: it's oppressive or humid
Bon soir can be used early evening or after work. But it is more commonly used as a parting expression, at least in some regions. It more closely resembles our 'good night', though it starts earlier.
Bonne nuit mean sleep well.
And to all you French students out there: Bon courage!
In the COMMENTS: Ido, welcome back, we've missed you! Mark, Herm, and Catrina, loved the memoires the post broght up. Gregory, can't wait to see that car!