délabré
effacer

potin

Biot
No blabbermouths in this corner of Biot; just books.

le potin (poh-tehn) noun, masculine
  gossip, tittle-tattle
  noise, din, racket

Duroy sentit brusquement une sensation de froid, une sorte de crispation nerveuse, un besoin d'injurier et de gifler ce bavard. Mais il l'interrompit simplement pour lui demander: "C'est votre nom, Saint-Potin?"

Duroy felt a sudden chill, a sort of nervous contraction, a wish to insult this gossip-monger. But he merely cut him short by asking him: 'Is Saint-Potin your real name?
--from the book "Bel-Ami" by Guy de Maupassant


                                                          Column


by Kristin Espinasse


Gossip is something I hate to love and French gossip is my particular weakness.

Mais, tu ne savais pas? But, didn't you know?
Tu connais la dernière? Do you know the latest?
Or, as my husband says when he wants to get my attention: J'ai un scoop pour toi!*

What? What! What did you hear about her? What do you know about him? Tell me something--anything!--about the French that will make me feel less...étrange.* But isn't that why my ears bend so easily? In hearing about someone else's misadventures, I feel less like a misfit myself.

And so it was that I longed to be just another gold bangle on one woman's emphatically flapping wrist. How else could I get close enough to hear whatever it was she was saying that had the other women at our table crowded together like grapes on a vine? Seated at the opposite end of the grapevine, I tried to read the wrist-flapper's lips but reading French lèvres* isn't my forte.

"Well, this is the last time I sit next to Jean-Marc!" I muttered, looking past the women's husbands who were in a heated debate about the physics of pétanque.* (Specifically: could one play boules* on a cruising ship as one does on stable ground? Wouldn't a steel ball land off target?)

"Ef aygal em ah!" (F = ma) one of the men pointed out, arguing that the ship's speed would have no effect on the heavy steel ball's landing.

F = ma... I wonder if the man really knew what he was talking about or was simply throwing out some fancy sounding equation. I don't know what the letter equation means but I understand it has something to do with the law of acceleration and, in turn, why I have unconsciously placed myself this far away from the women: so as not to get swept up in the tongue-wagging turbulence.

.

~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~
j'ai un scoop pour toi
= I have a scoop for you; étrange = strange; la lèvre (f) = lip; la pétanque (f) = petanque, a.k.a. "boules"; une boule (f) = (steel) ball

:: Audio Clip ::
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's word and example sentence: Download potin.wav
POTIN. Duroy sentit brusquement une sensation de froid, une sorte de crispation nerveuse, un besoin d'injurier et de gifler ce bavard. Mais il l'interrompit simplement pour lui demander: "C'est votre nom, Saint-Potin?"

French Terms & Expressions:
  le dernier potin = the latest (scoop)
  faire du potin = to make a fuss, to stir things up
  potiner = to gossip
  ça a fait du potin = it made quite a stir

Synonyms:
  un commérage, une cancan = piece of gossip

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Music: Francis Cabrel
Film: Avenue Montaigne -- starring Cécile De France
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety