saynète
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belle-doche

Rue hopital (c) Kristin Espinasse
Flower boxing along Rue Hôpital Vieux in Brignoles...

Chatelaine magazine (printed in French!) features articles on health, beauty, family, and fashion issues, practical home advice, and a wide variety of recipes. More info here.

la belle-doche (bel dosh) (hear audio file, below) noun, feminine
mother-in-law (pejorative)

Toute femme contient une belle-mère.
All women have within them a mother-in-law.
--Jules Renard

A Day in a French Life...
I've noticed that some people find it amusing, often valorisant,* to sit down and note various roles acquired "à travers la vie," while traveling across life. One woman writes: "I am a sister, cousin, granddaughter, niece..." while another honors herself as a mother, daughter, wife, aunt and marraine.*

Men might value themselves as fathers (grand, step- and otherwise), beau-pères,* brothers, uncles, sons, nephews, and parrains*...

We tack on our hobbies, professions and strong-points to qualify ourselves in other ways, and our list grows: "knitter, golfer, gardener, collector, theater-buff, scrap booker, hostess, fly-fisher, animal-lover, bookworm, Francophile, teacher, student, realtor, lawyer, nurse, entrepreneur, best friend, care-taker, confidant, counsellor, volunteer, listener, âme soeur*...

I've also noticed that some acquired titles are less noteworthy, ink-shy if you like: amant,* belle-doche,* nag, worrywart, two-timer, gambler, gossip, rapporteuse,* slowpoke, fusspot, back-stabber, freeloader, rabat-joie,* pinch-penny...You get the gist.

If you live in certain parts of French-speaking Africa, you may be familiar with the title "belle-épouse." Imagine having to call your husband's other wife, the one you wish would just as soon slip on a banana peel near a displaced sewer grate, "beautiful sister"!

While I enjoy learning about others' roles, as for my own, I'll just say that I'm thankful not to have to send ill-wishes to some surely sultry sister-wife.*

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References: valorisant(e) = fulfilling, that which gives self-esteem; la marraine (f) = godmother; le beau-père (m) father-in-law (also can mean "step-father"); le parrain (m) = godfather; l'âme soeur (f) = soul mate; un amant (m) = lover; la belle-doche (f) (pejorative) = la belle-mère (mother-in-law); une rapporteuse (un rapporteur) = tattletale, tattler; un rabat-joie (m) (also: un(e) trouble-fête, mf) = party-pooper; sister-wife (or belle-épouse) = another wife of one's husband in a polygamous society

French Pronunciation:

Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the French word belle-doche: Download belle-doche2.wav
Hear Jean-Marc's sentence: Je n'appelle jamais my belle-mère "belle-doche." I don't ever call my mother-in-law "belle-doche.": Download belle-doche3.wav

Find belle-doche referenced in this book:
Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French by Natalie Schorr


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Learn in Your Car® (Audio CD) teaches listeners French pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar without the need of a textbook. Order it here.

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