A fun Cultural Note!

unnamedMost English-speaking French have studied British- style English, which can lead to communication innuendos with speakers of American-style English. For example, in the United States, a presentation that “bombs” has failed but in England it means it has succeeded.  😂

Some words in French and English may have the same roots, but different meanings or connotations. If you don’t speak French don’t be offended too easily. If a Fren ch person tells you “I demand that you do this or that”, it simply means that “ask” as “Demander” means “ask” in French and it can be quite confusing for French people 🙂

On the other hand, don’t think that an English word will have the same translation in French for example, “bathroom”. If you ask for the “bathroom” i.e. “salle de bain” to a French person, it will not be understood as the restrooms.

Have a lovely week

Frenchy

@ Bientôt

How are you?

Comment vastu? Comment ça va? Ça va?

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“Ça va?” This is how we greet someone and ask how they are. 

But note the following: Comment va

Comment vas-tu?” is rather formal: How are you?

Comment ça va?” is more colloquial : How (are) you doing? And “Ça va” is short for Comment ça va? which makes it even more familiar.  

Ça va bien, merci.” This person is saying “I am fine, thank you“. 

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But this man is saying things aren’t too good. “Pas très bien!” means “not that good.

This list shows you different ways of saying how you are, from very well to terrible:

  • très bien => very well
  • bien => well
  • assez bien => quite well
  • pas très bien => not very well
  • très mal => terrible

Our French Celebs: Meet Liliane Bettencourt

liliane-bettencourt-parce-quelle-le-vaut-bienLiliane Bettencourt 

She is the woman who gave new definition to cosmetics after she inherited L’Oreal which was founded by her father Eugene Schueller. It is one of the biggest and largest beauty and cosmetic company in the world. Her company’s net worth of $ 30 billion makes her the richest woman in the world. She and her family currently own above 30% shares of L’Oreal which has only been increasing thanks to boost in French market for cosmetics. The elderly widow also has fought legal battles against her family due to guardianship of her money.

Since then, she had faced intense media scrutiny and publicity over her relationship with François-Marie Banier, the estrangement with her daughter Françoise and her alleged funding of conservative French politicians, including former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

She founded with her husband the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation (la Fondation Bettencourt Schueller) to support and develop medical, cultural and humanitarian projects. The Foundation is based in Neuilly-sur-Seine (92), France. The Foundation, which benefits from assets of €150 million and an annual budget of approx €15 million devotes approximately 55% of its funds to scientific education and research, 33% to humanitarian and social projects and 12% to culture and arts. It sponsors prizes through which funds are disbursed to various recipients.

http://www.fondationbs.org 

Forbes ranks Bettencourt at 7th in its list of the world’s wealthiest persons with an estimated fortune of US$38.8 billion(as of 28 June 2016). As of 2016, she is the top female billionaires woman in the world, and is also the richest person in France.

Our Frenchies on Liliane 🙂 Enjoy!

“Je suis content pour la Bettencourt. Si seulement elle pouvait vendre ses produits moins chers….”

I’m happy for the Bettencourt. If only she could sell her products cheaper 

***

“Riche et gâteux ou pauvre et brillant? Que choisir?”

Rich and spoiled or poor and smart? What to choose?

***

“Pour information, le patrimoine de L. Bettancourt équivaut au PIB annuel d’un pays comme la Lettonie (membre de l’UE), ou de la Côte d’Ivoire (25 millions d’habitants). Ceci dit, ça reste un peu inférieur aux bénéfices d’Apple en 2013. Par ailleurs, il y a 10 personnes plus riches qu’elle dans le monde (Bill Gates a un patrimoine équivalent au PIB de Cuba, classée au 66e rang mondial). Accessoirement, le chiffre d’affaire de Wal Mart ou de Shell en 2013 était comparable au PIB de la Belgique.”

For information, the heritage of L. Bettencourt is equivalent to the annual GDP of a country like Latvia (EU member), or Côte d’Ivoire (25 million inhabitants). That said, it’s still a little lower than Apple’s profits in 2013. There are ten more richer people in the world (Bill Gates has a heritage equivalent to Cuba’s GDP, ranked 66th in the world). Incidentally, sales of Wal-Mart or Shell in 2013 were comparable to the GDP of Belgium

***

“On peut espérer que la nouvelle loi travail permet un accroissement de ces fortunes.”

One can hope that the new labor law will allow an increase of her fortunes.

Comments from Le Monde Newspaper. 

 

 

Saying “Hello and Goodbye”

The first thing you should know in French is how to say “Hello”.

Like in English, there are different greetings for different times of the day. Here you can find out what to say when.

In France, it is polite to address someone you don’t know as “Monsieur” (Sir), “Madame” (Mrs) or “Mademoiselle” (which is now not legally used anymore – translated Miss).

SAYING HELLO

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Salut => this is how to say “Hello” to your friends. It can also mean “Good Bye” Here Les potes translates “Friends” in a more familiar way than “les amis”.

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Coucou => this is how to say “Hello” to your closest friends. “Toi” translates “you“.

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Bonjour => this is more polite and means “Good Day“.

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Bonne journée => this is how you wish per se “Good day” to someone. It translates “Have a good day“.

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Bonsoir => this is how you say “Good evening” to someone.

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Bonne soirée => this is how you wish “Good evening” per se to someone. It translates “Have a good evening“. Here “Tout le monde” translates “everybody“.


SAYING GOODBYE

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Au revoir” & “À bientôt” respectively mean “Good Bye” and “See you again“.

PS: Not putting the accents on the A and O is a spelling mistake that loads of frenchy french do.

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Bonne nuit => you say it last thing at night.

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Adieu => it’s a farewell greeting which is rarely used now except in romantic books and movies 😉

OTHERS

À demain => meaning “See you tomorrow!

À tantôt => old version of “À bientôt“.

Hope you enjoyed your first French lesson!

Frenchychic

xoxo

Top 5 funny facts about the Bretons

As a proper Parisian, we like stereotyping our co-citizen… And here I am starting with our Bretons… Finish with Politics! Let’s have some fun!  #happyfriday !!! #justforfun.
Enjoy!
1) In Brittany, it rains all the time!

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Well, it does not rain all the time. I can certainly say that the Bretons have less sunshine that the rest of France. A bit like at his cousin Great Britain.
2) All Bretons are alcoholic

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How could they be alcoholic if they only drink cider?
3) All Britons wear a Bigouden

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Et alors? Bretons are launching a trend.
4) In Brittany, we only drink cider!

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Well? How much cider does it take to get drunk? At least we are not pissed after two glasses of wine like our friends in Bordeaux.
5) Bretons only eat crêpe (pancakes)!

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Breakfast: crêpe with sugar, crêpe in maple syrup. Lunch: ham-cheese crêpe. Dinner: crêpe with foie gras … Et alors??? On adore….
XoXo
#happyfriday #frenchchic #frenchattitude

Corporate Tax or L’impôt sur les sociétés

Well, corporate tax is impôt sur les sociétés which literally means “Tax on the companies”.

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PS: one of the highest in the world. I am sure the new president will take care of it like Trump in the USA. 🙂

Frenchie

XoXo

Congratulations Mr. Macron!

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Emmanuel Macron was elected France’s youngest president last Sunday. Beating far-Right rival Marine Le Pen in a positive result (more than 3/4 of votes) that will have far-reaching consequences for Brexit and Europe. Despite the vast margin of the final result, Le Pen’s score nonetheless marked a historic high for the French far right. She has taken 11m votes, double that of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, when he reached the presidential run-off in 2002 against Mr. Chirac.

The results are even more dramatic in London were more than 95% of French Londoners voted for Mr. Macron.

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Though Mr. Macron called for unity, hundreds of protesters gathered in the Place de la République last Monday to demonstrate against him. The reality that one-third of voters chose neither Macron nor Le Pen, with 12 million abstaining and 4.2 million spoiling ballot papers.

Despite her defeat, Le Pen’s score made her leader of “the biggest opposition force” in France which gives a whole new face to French politic.

Now, new challenges are heading up for Macron, with a strong hard left and far right, he will struggle to win a parliamentary majority for his new political movement En Marche! (On the Move!). We wish him all the best and hope for the best future for My Douce France, Le pays de mon enfance.

Frenchy

 Shooting in Champs-Elysees

A couple of days before the first round French Presidential Elections, Central Paris became a victim of terrorism once again making the country the most unsafe town of the E.U to live in.

According to the Pierre-Henry Brandet, of the French interior ministry, Thursday 21st night at 9:30, in Champs-Elysees, one gunman named Karim Cheurfi, with automatic Kalashnikov assault rifle, came suddenly from nowhere and started shooting on a police van and killed one police officer and wounded couple of them. Not just that, he also fired on the civilians standing nearby. France police officials retaliated in response and he was shot dead in no time.

According to witnesses, Cheurfi parked a car behind a police van on the Champs-Elysees last  Thursday  21st April night and emerged from it with a Kalashnikov rifle and started firing the window of the van. The police officer who was sitting on his seat died immediately.

c2176f8d6ec6510a916cace550e674a56e8b2601370fefb8e4ce11c4d593de01_3935708Karim Cheurfi was born on New Year’ Eve in 1977 in the Livry-Gargan (93160) Suburb of north-eastern Paris.

He was living in the eastern suburb of Chelles after emerging from prison in October 2015 and his lawyer has revealed that he was having a mental disorder and was psychologically ill.

Hours after the attack, news came out from the source close to CNN that the Cheurfi was a French national and he had charges against him of shooting two officers in 2001 after being stopped by a police car. During the interrogation, he also snatched the gun of the police officer and shot him three times.

ISIS issued a statement claiming the responsibility of the attack and said that it was carried out by an Islamic State fighter. The claim came from the statement by the media wing Amaq of the ISIS.

The suspect, who was shot dead by French police, was on the radar of the French domestic security service DGSI, the source said.

Champs-Elysees is one of the major tourist attractions in Paris and millions of visitors visit here, especially the iconic Arc de Triomphe monument. However, the place is shut down by the officials due to security reasons.

The US President Donald Trump did write a tweet by predicting that the attack would have a big effect on presidential election which in fact at least on the first round didn’t have much of an impact since the poll were indeed right.

France has been a victim of Islamic terrorism since 2012 and there is visible anger in the citizens.

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The First round of the French Presidential elections is over and results are interesting. Clearly, no one party has gained clear majority and two candidates Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron will runoff for the next round on 7th May. As many election analysts had predicted, the Champs Elysees attacks did not make much impact on the minds of France citizens. Marine Le Pen, the hardcore right wing candidate is on the 2nd run than Emmanuel Macron who got 24.01% votes compared to Le Pen’s 21.30%.

 

What if I have to predict about French Presidential Elections 2017?

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Democracy is considered as an ideal tool to rule and run any country or province. It is the government of the people, by the people and for the people as said by the Former US president in his famous Gettysburg Address speech in 1893. However, the tables are turning in the 21st century, and the democracy is no longer same as our ancestors had imagined. The exceptional sweep by Mr Donald Trump in 2016 US elections, have defined some new meanings of democracy, and the curious question lies in the hearts and minds of people across the world is: will 2017 French Presidential Elections be a game changer in the French politics or it will only repeat what is happening in a so called democratic country like America.

If you are crazy enough to think that you can trust the exit polls altogether, let me tell you, you should not.

After the incidents like US presidential elections and Brexit, it is not wise to trust exit polls altogether. The problem with polls is that people sometimes don’t convey what their hearts tell them.

The fall of François Fillon:

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Until December, there were only two strong participants in the French Presidential race- François Fillon and Marine Le Pen. Well, things did not turn out well for François Fillon due to some serious accusations to him like securing a fake job for his wife and children with public money (around 800000 €). Also, recently, he was accused of forgetting to declare to the HATVP (High Authority for Public Life Transparency) a 50000 € loan granted to a billionaire friend to whom he gave the Légion d’Honneur when he was at the government. The chances of François Fillon to win the elections dramatically fall from 66% to 19% in recent polls and a name which Marine Le Pen should (?) take seriously is no more François Fillon, but Emmanuel Macron.

Emmanuel Macron:

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The recent polls predict that Emmanuel Macron will win the elections against Marine Le Pen with 60-40% margins. However, as I said above, you cannot trust polls completely as Le Pen has more than 15 years of experience in the active politics compared to Macron’s mere five years.

The world seems to accept extreme Right wing ideologies (India, US elections and Brexit). In this political scenario, the chances of winning the right thinking are high.

Also, we should not forget that most of the voters prefer a good and direct orator and Emmanuel Macron has this quality. If you have seen his recent debates, you must have noticed his consistency, direct approach, excellent debating tactics and innovative ideas.

Also, he listens what his opponent has to say, and that is something commendable. He won his first debate with flying colours and had qualities to appeal the mass. He may win huge acceptance among voters, especially liberals.

However, there are some serious issues associated with Macron, and one of the main problems is his unjustified attempt to transpartisan. In his speeches, he tries to please right wingers and left wingers and ends up angering both. A recent example- You must have heard his views about gay issue in the recent speech.

Marine Le Pen: a firebrand right-wing idealist:

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Though you must have read about her a lot nowadays and some of you might hate her, but she very well knows that pulse of the public and has an enormous political experience to help her out. She is an outspoken, excellent orator and a hardcore anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim. You can compare her with the US current President Donald Trump who has already started taking decisive steps against Muslims and illegal immigrants. Marine Le Pen has seen and studied French Politics carefully and knows how it functions. When she became a leader of the Front National, she sidelined her own father and supporters and reached out to mostly untouched communities like LGBT, women and religious minorities like the Jewish community by softening her party ideologies.

She speaks firmly in debates, whether it is about leaving the European Union or reducing the immigration or going back to the France Franc as currency. Her voters come from diverse backgrounds and races. If you have seen exit polls closely, you must have noticed that Le Pen’s voting margins are not fluctuating like others in spite of her political and financial scandals. She clearly has sounds and loyal voters, and this is the most important thing for her to win.

Mélanchon

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Then comes Mélanchon, he came a long way, and he might get the votes from the indecisive and pass the first round. He appeals to the youth and has his loyal and sound crew as well. However, who would be against him???? Le Pen? This would mean that we will have to pick between the two extreme political parties and this is the scariest thing that could happen in our elections. Knowing my Frenchies, it is not an option to joke on… It’s entirely plausible to my point of view.

Voters, the final deciders

Sunday is coming fast (D -2) and it is not worth to predict what the French people think.

And I apparently feel like these votes will be led by 4 categories of voters:

  • The intellectuals: they swing votes depending on the political programme offered by the candidates, they traditionally vote right or left wing. Their decision is purely a question of opportunity. What’s right for them and their families?
  • The Passionate Swingers: former loyal voters, mostly from the French middle class, fed up with the traditional parties. Former loyal voters, they swing their votes over the last few years, voting now for extremes in desperate need for solutions for the country.
  • The Loyals: supporters who are always voting for the same political party. They believe in parties and not in ideas. They will never vote outside their party whoever is in charge.
  • The Indecisives: they are the most volatile obviously. They think too much. They will probably make their decision on the day. They might even not vote at all. They could vote for anyone including the Extremes. They are sick and tired of the current politics and after being former Loyals and maybe former Intellectuals, they are deeply concerned about the future of their country and want to try something else. They will either vote with their heart & gut or not at all or only between the two final candidates.

I can’t wait to be voting this coming Sunday. It would be interesting to see who French people choose. Whoever leads and takes over the seat, Intellectuals, Swingers, Indecisives and LOyals, we all hope that the new president will work for the betterment of the people and be caring for the hard-hitting issues, France is facing right now.

Frenchie

XoXo

French Election: Religion & Politics?

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France goes to the polls in 10 days to elect a new president. Will the National Front’s Marine Le Pen pull off a Brexit-style victory?

French Ambassador in Dhaka Sophie Aubert was delivering a lecture on France’s foreign policy and its challenges at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies or BIISS in Dhaka.

Aubert said religion is a “complex issue”. “We must be very careful before the misuse and manipulation of religion at the political level.”

France is at war with this jihadist movement outside the country: Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad. In the Middle East, in Iraq and Syria. Despite the fact that the French are not “really” living these wars, they’ve already been labelled as War of Religion or the “Invisible WW3”.

In fact, most of Le Pen’s voters are rejecting Islam and its conviction, still shaken by the attacks which happened in Nice or Paris and also more recently in London and really concerned by the national security.

The three biggest concerns of the French are:
1 – immigration (coming first for 38% of the population)
2 – Security (coming first for 30% of the population)
3 – unemployment rate (coming first for 12% of the population)

Having these numbers in mind, the French population also feel like they are facing a cultural and ideological threat with Islam first being the most practised religion in France feeling like the country is losing its identity. In fact, a lot defended her when she mentioned back three years that Muslims holding prayer services in the streets of Paris (Chateau Rouge) felt “like an occupation.”

On April 23, the French will go to the polls to cast their ballot for one of eleven candidates, four of whom are polling at or near 20 percent. Two weeks later, they will choose between the top two vote-getters. Any of the top four could conceivably make it to the second round.

The population is sick of the traditional politics: left wing, right wing… Bye! They ready to give a chance to “newest” parties such as Le Front National and Le Parti Communiste! Of Mélanchon. The latter had a dramatic seven-point surge recently, unexpectedly turning France’s roller-coaster presidential race into a possible four-way contest where anybody could be elected really. And 32% of the French population still doesn’t know who they are voting for…. Scary…

Well, religion doesn’t govern our politics nowadays but certainly dictates the community’s choices regarding candidates. Hence Le Pen’s rise these last couple of years.

À vous de juger!

Frenchie xxx