Today's crime story (or tale of your choice...) takes place here, at our local park in La Ciotat....
French Word of the Day: un juron
: swearword, curse word, cuss
lâcher des jurons = to use strong language
un chapelet de jurons = a string of expletives
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A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
Often, all it takes to come up with a story is one good line. Take, for example, the following snippet overheard at the park earlier today:
Allez les enfants. Plus de gros mots. Je filme pour votre maman.
Let me translate that one for you: Come on, kids, no more cussing. I'm filming for your mom! With a gem like this--spoken by a camera-wielding grand-mère to two little tikes on bikes--you could pen an essay about public vs. private personas. But who wants to get all philosophical at this time of the day (it's evening now, and I've got to put my hens to bed).
Then again, with a bit of one-sided dialogue like the above, a short piece could be written about cussing in France, specifically, all the little gosses who do it. You do hear the terms merde and putain issuing right out of the mouths of babes! If you don't believe me, spend a day at the beach, sit beside some stressed-out sand-castle engineers. Or go to the city park, right before l'heure de goûter when everyone's as edgy as a Parisian waiter. But back to badmouthed kids...
Allez les enfants. Plus de gros mots. Je filme pour votre maman...
Squeezing that line like an orange, you could eke out an article on grandparents who care for their grandchildren (I see so many at the park on Wednesdays). But this is a French word journal, not a bilingual abstract in Droit et Société. Besides, it would require research and, well, it's time to think about dinner.
One thing's sure, in literature...the need for a jumping off point! The aforementioned snippet, or bribe, could serve in an argumentative piece about how the French are more sloppy than you think they are (conversely we get etiquette from them... From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
etiquette (n.) 1750, from French étiquette "prescribed behavior," from Old French estiquette "label, ticket"
Oh well, we don't want to label anybody (least of which a let-rules-slide septuagénaire!). All we want to do today is marvel, for a moment, at so many possibilities in writing and in life and, especially, to take note of one grandmother's gusto as she lovingly, creatively goes with the flow....
l'enfant = child
le gros mot = swear word
la maman = mom, mommy
la grand-mère = grandmother
la/la gosse =kid
merde = sh....
putain = f...
bribe = snippet
l'heure de goûter = snack time
septuagénaire = person in their seventies, septuagenarian
You're likely to hear some colorful jurons at a pétanque tournament...and they're not saying saperlipopette!