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sondage

Sondageun sondage (sohn-dazh) n.m.
  poll, survey ; dig, drilling (hole)

Un sondage n'est pas un substitut à la réflexion. A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought. --Warren Buffett

A Day in a French Life...
I looked out the window and saw him standing in a cloud of smoke. After he had finished lighting his cigarette he rang the sonnette* next to my mailbox.

"Je peux vous aider?" Can I help you? I said, stepping out of the house.
"C'est pour un sondage," it's for a survey, he replied.
"Non, merci," I said, automatically.

Next, my conscience intervened with these words directed at the sondeur:* "What are the questions about and how long will it take?" When he answered "automobiles" and "forty-five minutes" my conscience turned to me and said "Débrouille-toi!" you're on your own! and went back inside the house.

The questioner stood there watery-eyed and unshaven, looking more fugitive than inquisitive. There was a time when I would have seen an innocent Frenchman standing at the gate but now that some of the romance of France has worn off I see the French for who they really are--human: good, bad, kind, cranky, helpful and, at times, harmful... on this last point, I reacted:

"Forty-five minutes? I am sorry, but I do not have the time." With that, the sondeur took a long drag on his clope,* uttered a few words of disappointment and walked off, leaving me with my guilt.

"Do you think you are more important than he?" my conscience asked, meeting me back at the door and stepping up onto my right shoulder. "Why is your time more precious than his?" 

The telephone rang and, with steps as heavy as my spirit, I went to answer it. "Mommy, can you come and pick me up now?" Max asked at the other end of the line.

"You see!" I reassured myself, on my way to the car, "you couldn't have answered that man's questions anyway." And off I drove, the diable* chatting in my ear from his chaise-longue,* over there on the opposite shoulder.

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References: la sonnette (f) = doorbell; le sondeur (la sondeuse) = pollster; la clope (f) = cig (cigarette); le diable (m) = devil; la chaise longue (f) = deckchair

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Listen:
hear my son, Max, pronounce the word 'sondage': Download sondage.wav

Also:
un sondage d'opinion = opinion poll
faire un sondage = to take a poll
un sondage par téléphone = a telephone poll

In books: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French

'Words in a French Life'. Ask for it at your local bookstore or order it here.

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