Braise the dog update + how to say "different strokes for different folks" in French
kif-kif! + list of Arabic words you will hear when in France

Send a Texto or SMS message in French - short dictionary of text abbreviations....

Foutas and Snorkeling (c) Kristin Espinasse
Those colorful tasseled linens on the ladder are called foutas (available here). You see them on the beach, beneath the very chic! The French adore them though they're not made in France (some come from Tunisia). They don't cost an arm and a leg--and for added value you can use them as a tablecloth or a bed runner or a body wrap. ORDER A TOWEL HERE


    by Kristin Espinasse

This morning when my son walks up to the breakfast table I promise not to fire off 24 giddy questions like the last time. "There's a bag of sliced bread here and some Nutella over there," I say simply, smiling peacefully when he says he prefers baguettes (we're out.) 

It is so rare these days to share a meal with Max that I don't want to ruin this opportunity. Especially, I don't want to scare him away--after all, he has two more options: he could eat in the dining room or he could eat outside on the patio. The weather's still nice, so this last possibility would be tempting.

"Look at the jellyfish stings I got! " I try distracting my 18-year-old before he even considers his options. Quickly, I offer my hand for Max's inspection. Pointing to my ankle, I show off a second prickly red patch. "Que ça gratte!"

While away with Jean-Marc this weekend, on a 3-day escapade amoureux, I tried to keep up with my adventurous husband. But I was reluctant to swim in the sea with him after I noticed all the jellyfish. Finally on day three I made up my mind to brave the salty waters (which had cleared, some, of the stinging monsters). I mimicked my husband, spitting several times in my face mask, using my thumbs to "shine" the goggles with the help of my salive. Next, I yanked on the mask and dove in before chickening out. Seconds later I was stunned back to my good senses. Zapped twice by jellyfish!

How ironic to have been so cautious only to double the odds! Or, as Jean-Marc said when later we laughed about my accidental run-in with the méduses: "Il fallait le faire express! You would have had to do that on purpose!" He's right--and fear is like a magnet... it seems to attract the very thing it hopes to avoid!

 Max laughed hearing my story. "Maman," he said, dismissing my superstition, "t'es une catastrophe!" You are just clumsy.

"Oh, by the way," I said to Max, "When I tried to text you last night with my mobile phone, I got confused by your response, which didn't make any sense--until I realized I was reading a response you had sent me last month!"

Max smiled and shook his head in appreciation of another of his mom's ineptitudes.

"...So I decided to have your sister text you for me! Only, when I texted Jackie for an update, I received another strange response. It read 'C ki?' I quickly figured out that 'c ki' was a keyboard shortcut for "c'est qui?"

Having decripted the French SMS, or text, I still found the message strange. Perhaps Jackie couldn't see my name in the text box thing? So I texted right back with "c maman". (Though I struggled with the tiny keys on my non-smart phone, I felt smug using the SMS code I'd just learned, such as the "c" for "c'est". But any pride quickly dissipated when I couldn't figure out how to abbreviate "maman"... mmn? mn? ma? meh...

"Next I received this message: 'dsl vs fait erreur'." After unscrambling the second message ("dsl = désolé; vs = vous...) I realized I had just texted a complete stranger, one who was polite enough to inform me: "sorry you've made a mistake"!

I debated several minutes on whether or not to reply to the inconnu, deciding it was only right to acknowledge the error: "dsl je me suis trompe de no". So much for the brief foray into French texting (and what a relief it was when the stranger didn't write back. Ouf!)

Max, having heard me out, came back to his first conclusion: "T'es une catastrophe!" he snickered.

Well, Max may be clever, but can he say "clumsy" in textese? MDR! Meantime, to help you with your own speed-texting, I leave you with a list of French SMS lingo--compiled by our daughter and SMS specialist Jackie (she also recorded an audio file for you... just below). Please share this blog with a friend--or a class, if you are teaching French :-)


Audio File: You can listen to the following list, here: Download MP3 or Wav file

Mdr = Mort de rire (lol).
Pk = Pourquoi (why)
Je c = Je sais (I know)
Stp = S'il te plait (please) 
Tg = Ta gueule! (shut up! [written teasingly])
Tmtc = Toi même tu sais (and you know it)
Jtm = Je t'aime (I love you)
Slt = Salut (hi)
Cc = Coucou (hi)
Bjr = Bonjour (hi)
Bsr = Bonsoir (goodnight)
Dsl = Désolé (sorry)

Have some French SMS shorthand you'd like to add to this list? Click here to go to the comments box

French Vocabulary

que ça gratte! = it itches so bad!

une escapade amoureuse = lovers' getaway

la salive = saliva

une méduse = jellyfish

la maman = mom

l'inconnu = stranger

ouf! = phew!

Please help answer Patty's adoption question:


Thank you for your wonderful newsletter.. It inspires me…. Although, I do not read it as much as I would like to….it always amazes me…and brings me to my roots… You may have the information I am looking for…. What is the name of the French TV program that looks for relatives of adopted children…. I understand they are quite successful at finding families..

I was adopted at birth in Bordeaux by an American Military couple back in the 50’s and have tried to look, but I haven’t much info…. I was told about the show and that that might be a possibility…. Any information you might have would be great…. 



If you know the answer to Patty's question, or would like to comment on some item in this post please click here for the comments box. Many thanks!

St. Antoine (c) Kristin Espinasse
During our 3-day getaway, we visited a little island church. I noticed this statue of St. Antoine. Beneath it there was a prayer book where you could leave a request. I mispelled the first word of mine...

Prayer book (c) Kristin Espinasse
....Good thing you don't have to conjugate to get your point across to God.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
Do you ever text your husband.....JtmJM?
I like all the foutas, but especially the raspberry colored one!
I haven't mastered the texting lingo. My texts are always too long!


For the beach, I would choose for my special someone the fouta in the lower right.

and thanks for the French SMS. Can't wait to try it out on a few French-speaking friends!

Karen from Phoenix

I can barely figure out the English ones, never mind the French ones!!!



I love all the foutas but the orange and yellow one is calling my name the loudest.

Clarice from California


Merci mille fois pour ce poste! I teach French and I am so excited to share the text speak with my students tomorrow in class! It's always fun to make it more interesting for them, especially when it's something that they are interested in!


I agree w Karen. Special: Buy WIAFL get Fouta pkge special. I'll take 2.
So mom's away and she wants to see if Max is at play. Get better answer-- ask the dogs. Happy Labor Day...


Our dear Kristi,
I always felt like an idiot trying to text anyway, and now seeing all the appropriate "lingo" in French,wow,I feel like even more of one.Thank goodness for the troisieme age;some stuff isn't as important!
I loved your church of st.Antoine,and your beautiful prayer request.What a wonderful idea.
Thank you,dear Kristi,for always filling us with light and inspiration!
Love, Natalia xo

Debby Howell

Definitely the dark red with some white stripes.


For your SMS abbrvs.

A+ = à plus tard

Joan Linneman

Thanks for the texting lingo, but what does SMS itself stand for?
Joan L.

Rosalinda B. Roll

A year or two ago, Beatrice Schoenberg hosted a program (sorry, I can't remember the title).One segment was about a woman who helps people find their relatives and birth parents. It was on France 2.

N, San Antonio, Texas

The colors are wonderful - happy !!! But I would buy the yellow and orange - it just says summer fun to me. Sorry - I have starting texting yet - when my great neices and nephew start then I will. Back to your story.


First off, I think I would choose the yellow runner....goes with the sunflowers I like to keep in the kitchen.
Second;I tried texting once on my sisters phone (I don't have one of those "things") and it was somewhat of a disaster. And actually for some very strange reason the SMS (whatever that is) in French made more sense to me than English.
Third;we have a new French bakery in town. C'est très authentique. They even have fresh baguettes every morning and twice on Sundays! The owner actually moved his entire family here from France.
Fourth;does one ever greet someone other than family with good morning,I would assume "bon matin" or is it always "bonjour" until "ce soir".
Fifth;in the future something you might try on jellyfish stings. They say vinegar, but an ER physician once told me that any type of meat tenderizer is good for insect, bee stings and the like. There is some enzyme in it that helps extract and break down the poison.

N, San Antonio, Texas

Ok read your story but first things first! What city is the French bakery in that Joie talks about? Anywhere in Texas?

LOVed your story as usual - but no info on the adoption TV show. You are not a "catastrophe" . You are brave considering your first posts about getting the boat. Bravo and wish I knew of something to make the itching go away. Cortizone cream? Sometimes I use toothpaste on mosquito bites - sounds odd but my sister-in-law from La. told me about it. Maybe it would help with the jelly fish. Happy evening!


This is for Patty:

I am on my way Sunday to Paris for 4 days and then to Aix en Provence for 6 days. I will ask my friends if they recall the program you mentioned. I can post it here if I find out anything. Bon chance!

Faye Stelly- Lafayette, La.

Ilike the Tuscan yellow...but what r this couple's colors?


I think the one on the lower right as well. It looks like red and I think everyone needs a little red in their life or kitchen maybe, especially newly-weds! It says fu
n to me!

Pat cargill

I like the pink/blue/green strip, and I would want to live in those wraps, cannot tell how thick they are, though.

And you are B R A V E, Kristen--in a gazillion years I would never have gotten into that water!

Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm

Dear Kristi! Your story made me smile and feel light-as-summer; buoyed by memories of swimming amongst the (non-stinging) jellyfish of Puget Sound summers at my grandparents'. I am sorry for your stings (plural --- ouch!!) and would have wished for you a more pleasant reward for your esteemed bravery! Still, happy you got away for a few days with your beloved.

Though reluctantly at first, I do find texting convenient and most of the abbreviations are beyond my understanding, as are smart phones. The first time I attempted to text on my current dinosaur-era cell phone was hilarious. I think it was on auto-fill, still not sure!? All I could get across was “tut tut” which puzzled me as well as the friend who the message was sent to. I think you and I have more in common than we realize! :)

There has been a shift in the light, the air, the weather here in southern Oregon; it feels light on the skin and the soul. Beautiful, glorious fall is near!

Annie et Larry abord Vague-A-Bond


Voila un autre SMS: A+

egal 'A plus' egal 'A plus tard' egal 'TTFN' egal 'CUL8R'
egal See You Later/Ta Ta For Now/Til later

Julie Farrar

The Arizona-like heatwave finally broke here in Missouri, so it was a perfect summer Labor Day to lounge by the pool, sans foutas but avec margaritas. Thanks so much for the text lingo because I've had friends e-mail or Skype using the abbreviations and I can't always find their meaning in a google search. I will paste all of these into a handy spot on my computer.


What my French friend uses all the time: CT = c'etait, kan = quand, bcp = beaucoup, tjs/tjrs = toujours. There's more but I don't always get it either :D


Loved this post. And I can definitely sympathize with your texting frustrations.

As for the for "blankets"--they would be fabulous to use in upholstering dining room parsons chairs. I saw that Lilly Pulitzer's daughter used native American blankets on her dining chairs but I think these would even more lovely.

Angie Quantrell

I'm thinking the brighter/darker orange and the stripes with pink and orange. Beautiful!



The foutas on the lower left. The yellow, blue and pink remind me of the beach - yellow for the sun, blue for the ocean, pink for a gorgeous sunrise or sunset!

Linda R.

Hmm ... in quick notes I've seen ...

gros bsx
C'est à dire 'bisous' et 'gros bisous'...maybe not really SMS (SMS? aucune idée - no idea what SMS means)


I like the red's a lovely shade! So sorry about the jelly fish stings...must have been painful. The Mayo Clinic recommends the following....


Suzanne Dunaway

Somtimes I think your JL is a a nutcake! Jellyfish?? Let him get stung.
As for texting, tweeting, twittering and twicking, I prefer a well-written email or a sweet voiced hello on a cellphone.
If this is an age thing, c'est ma vie...


I am too old to keep up with the new txt argot...quand vais continuer de essayer soyez en courant avec vos nouvelles en whatever way you expose them to me.


Salut Kristin: I laughed reading about your being stung by des méduses after carefully avoiding them the first two days!!! Comme si le bon Dieu nous taquine, ça m'arrive souvent ainsi, mais dans des différentes circonstances.

By the way, NOT " faire express" as you have misspelled maybe. To do it on purpose is "faire exprès".


SMS == Short Messaging System

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you for the added terms for our French SMS texting guide! And to Nigel, for defining SMS. And I appreciate your sympathies and solutions to the piqûre de méduse, or jellyfish bite I got. Currently the bumpy rash is covered in soothing organic coconut oil (I have a good supply on hand for all the no grudge fudge Ive been making

Kristin Espinasse

P.S. Millie -- many thanks for the correction. Off to update the post ... Any other errors Ive missed? 

Kathleen from Connecticut


I thought that we only had jelly fish in Long Island Sound. I didn't realize that other places have them also. C'est domage. I have been lucky and have never gotten stung,but of course, I don't swim with the (jelly) fish.

Thanks for the French texting short cuts. I don't know them in English and many times have to look them up in Google.

As for which fouta to buy..what are the couples colors?


Odile   CA

Hi kristin, je vous signale un article qui peut vous interesser in the LA Times TRAVEL
Sunday September 1, 2013: "A bookish haven for Americans in Paris".
Have a wonderfull autumn! Odile in LA

Gordon Lyman

"...Good thing you don't have to conjugate to get your point across to God."


Gordon Lyman

I recently saw a girl at a beach in Hawaii suffer two jellyfish stings. She cried and cried and lifeguards put vinegar on the welts. She said it reduced the pain, but I saw she had the welts for several more days.

Julia ~ Falling Off Bicycles

Love those foutas! Have one on my table here in Paris, but the shop where I bought it had less fun colors. Thanks for sharing and good luck selecting the gift for your friends.


When I have been stung by jellyfish, I use Adolph's meat tenderizer. It really works. Just moisten the powder slightly to make a quick paste and dab it on. You can do this after you come out of the sea, no need to rush out right away. Hope this helps, because they really sting and itch.

And I would get the lower right hand those colors, so summery and lively.

Love your French word of the day, too!

Joan Linneman

I'm amazed the French don't have a French term for SMS. (Thanks,Nigel, for explaining Short Messaging System for SMS). Our bank recently became PNC and no one seems to know what it stands for, only that it's supposed to appeal to "the achiever in you." How stale can you get?
Weather in Kankakee has finally cooled off; after a week of early dismissals nfor over 90 degree temps, my classroom is actually comfortable today. Happy week, everyone! Joan L.

Hani Agrama

Has the word fouta been used long in France? It is actually an Arabic word meaning towel.

Kristin Espinasse

Hani, thanks for translating the word foutas. The French have adopted it--but only to refer to these scarf-like beach towels that, here, are imported from Tunisia--where they are used for the hammam. Your note reminds me of a few other Arabic words the French regularly use... Could be a good post to share. Thanks!

Joanne Ablan

Je ne crois pas que "snuck" soit un vrai mot anglais. Je ne peux
pas le trouve à mon dictionnaire d'anglais. Le passé du verbe 'sneak'
c'est 'sneaked'. Peut-être je fais tort parce que mon dictionnaire
soit ancien; je suis un peu de la vieille école. Joanne, Carmel, CA

Diane Young

Sneaked may be more formally correct but most Americans say "snuck", as in " I snuck ihto the room", not "I sneaked into the room":. It may be an argot thing. We definitely have jellyfish in Fla. and you want to avoid at all costs. Various remedies sound possible. Jean Marc is one of those people who doesn't attract biters where you and I and most all light haired, light skinned people are like magnets for the biters. Loved the foutas, particularly the bottom left.

Kent Benson

"He's right--and fear is like a magnet... it seems to attract the very thing it hopes to avoid!

Dear Kristin,

There is a scriptural basis for your assertion: In Job 3:25, after wishing he had never been born, Job says, "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me." Some biblical scholars attribute Job's plight to his fear. Fear has been described as the opposite of faith and the companion of doubt. For, if one is in fear, one cannot be in faith. Faith is believing what one hears is true, while fear is the natural consequence of suspecting that it is not.

Alice Dent

You misspelled a word? Prier au lieu de Priez? Prier est correct! Many times I've seen signs, or directions in a French textbook that use the infinitive form as a command.

Alice Dent

Diane Nyad who just swam from Havana to Key West was thwarted by jellyfish the last time she tried. She had to wear a special mask to make it across. She's blond, BTW. Lifeguards recommend squirting Windex or Glass Plus (it's the ammonia) on jellyfish stings here in Florida since they are usually at hand. A baking soda paste (mixed with water) also takes the sting out & with hornet & bee stings. Je crois que tu es très courageuse!

Kristin Espinasse

Michael, so cheered to see your note and to know my Mom is getting her vision taken care of. Thank you so much for visiting us here at our language blog-I am sure others appreciated an update on Jules, too! Welcome, Michael, and please come back for a visit.

Kent, your note about the related scripture is much appreciated. Thank you!

Fred, glad you saw my note! I think of you, too!

To all who responded to this post, many many thanks. We are in and out of the house this weekend and I am sorry for this brief reply. On our way to Momtpellier now, for a yearly reunion with friends to honor the memory of a dear school chum of Jean-Marc. Wishing everybody an enjoyable weekend. Take good care.

Carolyn  Dahm,  Sharon, MA

Chere Kristi,

So glad you and JM were able to plan a little getaway but I'm sorry for the jellyfish stings. I've never had one but I'm sure they're nasty! Hope you're feeling better.

Love all the foutas, esp. the ones at the top but I'd be tempted to buy one of each-what great colors!

I've never texted in my life and don't plan to in the future. Too much of a technological intrusion on my life. Cell phones are bad enough and I rarely use mine. With teenagers, you're kind of stuck in the middle of that stuff-good luck with that one! I don't envy you!

Hope you're having a wonderful day!



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