Languages Magazine

Idioms for Boosting Interests to Learn French

By Tlb
learn french

There are so many ways a person can name when we are trying to learn French in an easier manner. For some who really prefers to have fun in to learn language, usually they add up some spices of funny phrases, words, names, and even movies so that they could get more interested to learn it.

Since we’ve mentioned various options of funny things to make an effective way of learning French language, another topic we could include to detail is the French idiom. Usually, idioms are difficult to understand because it has a different meaning contrary to what is actually written on it.

So, we have here three basic idioms to allow us to learn French and to understand the deeper meaning of what the language is really trying to express.

Appeler un chat un chat
Translation: Literally translates as to call a cat, a cat.
Meaning: To call a spade a spade; to speak your mind or to speak the truth.

Another way to interpret this French idiom is to call it like it is.
History: Although the history of this French idiom is not verified it is thought to have come out of the superstitious Middle Ages when cats were associated with witches. To call a cat, a cat was a way of saying that sometimes things are exactly as they seem and nothing supernatural.
In context: Vous pouvez compter sur ce qu’il dit; il appelle toujours un chat un chat.

You can trust what he says; he always tells it like it is.

Aux calendes grecques
Translation: Literally translates as the first day of the Greek calendar.
Meaning: Aux calendes grecques essentially means that it will never happen. This is equivalent to the English expression, when pigs fly.
History: Les calendes collectively refers to the first day of the month in the Ancient Roman calendar. Since Ancient Greek had no calendar system, aux calendes grecques refers to an unknown date in the future.
In context: Ce qui se passera aux calendes grecques.

That will happen when pigs fly.

Nous allon renvoyer aux calendes grecques la reunion.

We will postpone the meeting indefinitely.

Notes: The French idiom aux calendes grecques most often is heard with the verb renvoyer to mean that it will be postponed indefinitely.

Avoir le cafard
Translation: Literally translates as to have the beetle.
Meaning: Avoir le cafard has the connotation that you are so bored you are depressed or lack all manner of morale.
History: This expression is thought to come from French speaking Algeria. It is said that the French foreign legion, while in confinement, suffered such extreme boredom that they took to shooting beetles.
In context: Je ne peux pas terminer, j’ai tellement le cafard!

I am so bored, I can’t possibly finish.

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