tondre (tohn-dr) verb
to mow; to shear (wool); to clip; to crop (hair)
Mieux vaut tondre l'agneau Que le pourceau.
'Tis better to shear the lamb than the pig. --French Proverb
A Day in a French Life...
It is while speaking aloud in English to my Francophone children that I am made aware of the slack pronunciation of my own language. From here on out, worrying about French pronunciation will not be enough, I must now take care to tame my own truant tongue. In the spirit of today's word, my crime could be called "le tondage du langage," or "the shearing of language," in which words get cut (down) in a most unflattering way.
Just yesterday it happened again. While driving through our voisinage,* at an hour when most of the French are retreating indoors to escape the high temperatures, I noticed our neighbor out in his yard.
"What's that guy doing mowin' the lawn?" I said, thinking of the heat.
"Marineland?"* Jackie said, from the back of the car, echoing my phrase as she had heard it.
"No. MowinG the lawn," I repeated, minding my words.
"Is that a park?"
"Non! C'est faire la tondeuse, Jackie!"* her brother, seated next to her, replied, setting the matter straight once more.
References: le voisinage (m) = neighborhood; Marineland = Marineland (a "sea and adventure park" (Le parc de la mer et de l'aventure) near Antibes); Non! C'est faire la tondeuse, Jackie! = No! It (means to) mow the lawn, Jackie!
Listen: hear my son, Max, pronounce the word "tondre": Download tondre2.wav
tondu (adj) = cropped, closely-cropped, mown
le tondage = shearing
le tondeur = shearer
la tondeuse = lawn-mover, clippers, shears
la tondaison = sheep-shearing, shearing-time
Verb conjugation: je tonds, tu tonds, il/elle tond, nous tondons, vous tondez, ils/elles tondent => past participle: tondu
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