Becot, bise, bisou: kisses in French on Valentine's Day
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Don't miss our daughter Jackie's soundfile today, and enjoy this snapshot of Smokey and the heart shutter (roses are from Cousin Audrey).
On this, the 14th day of February, la journée de la Saint-Valentin or la fête des amoureux we begin with a string of lip-swaying nouns. Go ahead and pronounce the first line in the next paragraph and just feel your lips move to and fro—the exercise is a perfect warm up for un bisou!
TODAY' WORD: un bécot
: a little kiss
A smack, a smooch, a peck--un bécot or une bise--were once upon a time (and only in the land of lavender) known simply, humbly, endearingly as a kind of poutoun (poo-toon). And in the Provence of yesteryear, Marilyn's "a kiss on the hand" might have been, and rhymingly so, "un poutoun sur la main".
AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jackie read the following: Download MP3 or Wav
Un bécot, une bise, ou bien un poutoun (en Provençal)--voilà trois façons pour dire "kiss" en français! A smooch, a peck, or a kiss--there you have it: three ways to say "kiss" in French!
Given that this letter comes to you just a few beats away from the heart of Provence, not far from where La Festo di Poutoun, or "Kiss Festival," is soon to be underway, I hope you'll give today's word—un poutoun / a kiss—more than lip-service by sharing this edition with a sweetheart.
Thank you for reading and I'll now sign off, with a welcome change to cordialement, amicalement, best regards, and even cheers....
Les Mots Doux ~ Terms of Endearment
It may seem strange that the French, widely regarded as one of the most sophisticated and beautiful people on the planet, use some of the most strange (and not so beautiful) terms to refer to their belle/beau, or loved one. Take, for example, "ma puce" which means "my flea" (very popular here) and mon chou or "my cabbage" (beau, n'est-ce pas?).
mon amour (mohn a-moor) = my love
mamour = my love
mon bébé (mohn bay-bay) = baby
ma belle (mah bel) = my beautiful (one)
ma biche (mah beesh) = my doe
ma caille (mah kahy) = my quail
mon canard (mohn ka-nar)= my duck
ma chérie/mon chéri (mah/mohn shay-ree) = my dear
mon chou* (mohn shoo) = my cream puff (sweetie-pie, cupcake)
mon coeur (mohn ker) = my sweetheart
mon lapin (mohn la-pahn) = my rabbit
ma moitié (mah mwa-tyay) = my half
mon poulet (mohn poo-lay) = my chicken
mon trésor (mohn tray-zor) = my treasure
mon poussin (mohn poo-sahn) = my chick
ma puce (mah poose) = my (little flea)
mon sucre d'orge (mohn sookr-dorzh) = my barley sugar
*from mon chou à la crème
Photo taken in Sérignan (VAR).
More Love Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Amoureux:
les billets doux = valentines
fréquenter = to see / go out with someone
amouracher & s'amouracher de = to become infatuated with
tomber amoureux = to fall in love
être fou amoureux/amoureuse de quelqu'un = to be crazy in love with someone
Grow your French Vocabulary:
Bonne journée de la Saint-Valentin = Happy Valentine's Day
la fête des amoureux = the lovers' celebration
bee-zoo = pronunciation for "bisou" = kiss
cordialement = cordially
amicalement = best wishes, yours
"The Kiss." Jean-Marc and I on our 20th wedding anniversary. The beach is near La Madrague (St. Cyr-sur-Mer).
Get away for Valentines Day. Locate a cozy bed and breakfast here in France.
Selected "heart" expressions:
un coup de coeur = a spontaneous attraction
vider son coeur = to reveal one's feelings
Aimer de tout son coeur = to love with all one's heart
Laisser parler son coeur = to let one's heart speak
Donner son coeur à quelqu'un = to give one's heart to someone
un bourreau des coeurs = a ladykiller
Faire le joli coeur = to seduce
joli(e) comme un coeur = ravishing
"Hold the ladder," he said.
"OK, but can I take a photo? Wait. Don't answer. Hang on!"
I'm calling this picture "Superman of the Bougainvillea," unless you have a better caption? Meantime Happy, happy Valentine's Day!
A Message from Kristi: Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.
Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.
Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety