The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Autumn 2022

Discover Aix, the ‘Little Paris’ of Provence, the historic region of Beaune, a land of wine and castles. Beautiful Bordeaux and Normandy. The stork villages of Alsace and the pickled-in-the-past, post-card pretty perched town of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert. Breath-taking Lavender fields in Provence, castles in the air in Dordogne. Exquisite Villefranche-sur-Mer and Nice. Discover what’s new, the best tours, recipes, a language lesson, practical guides and much, much more…

“Faux Amis”

“Faux Amis” Deceptive Language What are they? “Faux amis”, or false friends, are not what they seem! No, they are not the friendships that end badly, but instead are an expression which means words that look similar or identical in French and English by that have an added layer of complexity to them and can subsequently be confusing to learn for French native speakers! As the expression suggestions, a “faux amis” is a word that is not what you think it is at first glance, and once translated can cause confusion to the French speaker. When a word looks identical across the two languages, they ought to mean the same thing, right? Wrong! A “faux amis” is in fact an English word that resembles a French word yet has a completely different meaning. These “faux amis” have the displeasure of misleading learners of English, especially to those just beginning their language journey because of their wide use across different categories of words. What are the origins of “faux amis”? In this instance many English and French words are false cognates because of their shared heritage. Today’s French, for example, is composed of predominantly Latin and Greek roots. However, there are also sprinklings of Celtic, Arabic and Germanic languages in there too. The English language has experienced the same range of influences, including old French, but the language has undergone a slightly different evolution over time. A great example of this is the old French word jornee (meaning journey or labour of a day) led to the French word journée (daytime) and in English journey. The French kept the notion of time when using the word, however the English instead preferred travel. Here are 5 of our favourite “faux amis” that have been confusing speakers of both languages: French speakers would describe coins as une pièce de monnaie. Assist (eng.) // assister (fr.) Assister à when used in French means to attend something, yet in English would be used to help or support someone or something. Advertisement (eng.) // Avertissement (fr.) Un Avertissement can be translated as a warning or a caution, and comes from the French verb avertir – to warn. However, an advertisement translated into French would be une publicité, une réclame, or un spot publicitaire. Chair (eng.) // Chair (fr.) La chair when used by a French speaker would be translated as flesh, not the seat! A chair for English speakers would be une chaise. In Summary To conclude, be wary of “faux amis” when navigating between French and English, they can lead to some embarrassing moments! However, despite the intimidating nature of making an awkward mistake when conversing, it is all part of the journey. Slip ups are a natural part of learning languages and not something to worry about! The more you expose yourself to French “faux amis” the better equipped you will be to deal with them! Practice your French language reading and speaking skills and learn more about France with Newsdle’s fun and easy to use news-based app – and get 25% off, just input coupon code goodlfife25 during checkout. What are they known as? However “faux amis” are part of a wider language phenomenon known as false cognates, or words that look identical in both language but have different etymologies. They are not exclusive to English and French, and can be found across many, many different languages. Library (eng.) // Librairie (fr.) One of the more common “faux amis”, despite the book connection, une librairie is where you would buy a book, not borrow one. To get the English meaning of library, one must visit une bibliothèque. Coin (eng.) // coin (fr.) The French word coin is translated as corner, and has no connection to what English speakers would describe as their loose change. 88 | The Good Life France The Good Life France | 89