• Harriot Grinnell-Moore

French Words & What To Do With Them (No.2)


Un Secret - Philippe Grimbert

I'm slowly learning more and more, to the point that my immediate response when I fall over is to scream "merde!" instead of "shit!" Which I think is solid proof of my language progression. Although I still mess up a lot of things (big surprise) and so I'm going to share some with you...


For one, the little boy I look after has millions of teddies, which he loves to show me and make me recite their names. One of his teddies is called dodo but when he first introduced me to dodo I assumed dodo was a children's way of saying teddy bear. Which is why when he asked if he could have a dodo and I kept bringing him teddy bears he looked at me very strangely, I asked him which one he wanted then, why didn't he go and pick it and he just stared at me and kept saying "NON UN DODO" over and over. When he walked to his room and got in his bed I thought he'd pick a teddy bear and we'd be all good, but then he kept opening and closing his eyes lying there. Turns out a dodo is a nap, not a teddy bear fyi.

So, we were always taught in school that mince in French means thin, so I think my confusion here is justified. We were out at the park and the little boy I look after tripped up a little, he was fine but as he tripped he muttered "mince" and so I asked him what he meant by that, he was just mince, you know, mince. Fast forward ten minutes of me going but it's the opposite of fat and him saying no and me saying yes, he told me it's a little similar to zut. So I figured out it means shoot or blast as well, which makes a lot more sense in that context than him saying thin.


Recently, I've been apartment searching ready for September, and as a result I've joined millions of Facebook "colocation" groups (which are pretty good) but scrolling through the comments I saw so many people posting "Mp :)" or "Mp svp" and I had no idea what MP meant and word reference was no help and just kept telling me it was the English for "député(e)". Eventually one of my french friends helped me out and let me know it's just the same as PM in English (as in private message not prime minister). So now I feel like my parents figuring out all the slang on Facebook (I'll try to

not tease you as much next time mum & dad)!

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Contact me: helgm1@gmail.com | The Netherlands

© 2017 by Harriot E.L. Grinnell-Moore

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