Is going to the local café a favorite amusette of yours, as it is mine? For the purposes of this edition (we always need a purpose...) we're calling this restaurant a buvette. Read on in today's edition—by guest columnist "Newforest".
amusette (ah moo zet) noun, feminine
Le tricot est pour elle une amusette qui l'aide à se détendre.
Knitting is a pastime that helps her to relax.
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
One of the many things that charms me about the French language is its penchant for puttin' on the Ritz or, plutôt, puttin' on the ettes. Have a look at these beauties or starlettes...
If I have un petit faible (une faiblette?) for this language (languette?), if certain words are sweetly chouette, and certain sounds sharply shadowed comme une silhouette... the cause for this might just be that little suffix ette!
But don't be fooled, Mistinguette, the suffix "ette" doesn't necessarily make une petite banque "une banquette". Read on in the following quiz or enquête, by Newforest (you may recognize Newforest from the comments box, where our Francophone friend continues to educate us on language etiquette. Merci, Newforest!)
Les Diminutifs by Newforest
Are the following words "diminutifs” ? (See the answers at the end of this edition.)
1) Is “un livret” un petit livre? (a booklet)?
2) Is "une chouette" un petit chou? (a small cabbage)?
3) Is "une banquette" une petite banque (a small bank)?
4) Is "une barbichette" une petite barbe? (a small beard)?
5) Is "un porcelet" un petit porc/cochon? (a piglet)
6) Is "une baguette" une petite bague (a tiny ring)?
7) Is "une burette” un petit bureau (a small desk / or a little office)?
8) Is “une espagnolette" une petite femme espagnole? (a small size Spanish lady)?
9) Is "un têtard" une petite tête? (a small head)?
10) Is "un moucheron" une petite mouche (a baby fly)?
Do you love these ettes and would you like to share a few of your favorites? Click here to comment and, while your here, please help me to thank Newforest for the inspiration behind this post and for the helpful quiz.
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Selected French Vocabulary
une buvette = refreshment stand
plutôt = rather
une amourette = passing fancy
une causette = a little chat
une lichette = a tiny piece, a little taste ("a lick")
une risette = a little smile
une soeurette = a little sister
saperlipopette! = gadzooks!
un petit faible = a little weakness for, a crush
chouette! = great!
comme une silhouette = like a silhouette
Mistinguette = little missy, from actress and singer Jeanne Bourgeois a.k.a. Mistinguette
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RÉPONSES DU QUIZ sur les DIMINUTIFS
Here are the answers.
1)“un livret” = booklet, small book [diminutif de “livre”]
2)"une chouette" = barn owl [PAS diminutif de “chou”!]
By the way, “un hibou” = an owl (no liaison between “un” and “i”)
3)"une banquette" = a seat
[Diminutif de “banc” (bench) - PAS diminutif de “banque” (bank)]
4)"une barbichette" = small goatee = “une petite barbiche”
“une barbiche” = goatee = “une petite barbe” → a small beard
[Hence, "barbichette" → “diminutif de "barbiche” which is “diminutif de “barbe”]
5)"un porcelet" = apiglet [diminutif de “porc”]
6)"une baguette" = 'baguette' / French stick [PAS diminutif de “bague”!]
7)"une burette” = cruet [PAS diminutif de “bureau”!]
8)“une espagnolette" = locking device for French windows [PAS diminutif de “espagnole”!]
9) "un têtard" = tadpole [PAS diminutif de tête - more of "un augmentatif", considering the size of its head ...]
10) "un moucheron" = midge [Diminutif de “mouche”]
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi