16 January 2010

The Swimming Head

We've had seven days of class since returning from break.  My class has finished two chapters in that time.  We learned three new tenses: l'imparfait, le futur simple, and le subjunctif.  Okay, so I use the word "learned" very loosely . . . we've been introduced to these tenses, have been tested on the first, and will take the test for the other two on Tuesday . . . so I'm spending the rest of today and tomorrow trying to absorb these concepts into my brain. 

I feel like my brain is back to that state of overload that I experienced in September . . . okay, not as bad as September, maybe October.  Yeah, like October.  I met with my language helper, C-L on Wednesday night.  As she came in we had a little dialogue comme ça:

C-L:  Bon soir, Déborah, ça va? (Good evening Deborah, how's it going?)
Deb.: Bon soir, oui, ça va . . . mais, ma tête nage! (Yeah, it's going . . . but my head is swimming!)
C-L:  Désolée??  (I'm sorry????)
Deb.: Ma tête, elle nage! (My head, it's swimming!!)
C-L:  Quoi? (What??)
Deb.: Ma tête nage . . . j'ai beaucoup de nouvelles choses là et je ne peux pas penser maintenant!  (My head is swimming . . . I have so many new things in there I can't think right now!)
C-L:  OH!  OUI!  Je comprends . . . mais, en français, la tête ne nage pas.  C'est bizarre!  Comment la tête nage sans tout le corps?  Non.  Tu ne dit pas ça.  Non. C'est tort.  (Oh, okay.  Yeah, I get it . . . but in French the head doesn't swim.  That's bizare!  How can the head swim without the rest of the body?  No, you don't say that.  It's wrong.)

She has a daughter who studies in the UK and said she'd ask her if there is a reciprocal phrase in French.  Haven't heard anything back yet, but I asked one of my prof's.  When I explained the phrase he said the French say J'ai la tête qui tourne (I have the head that turns). 

I've learned a few other French expressions this week too:
Quand les poules auront les dents.
Translation: When the chickens have teeth.  Utilization: similar to When pigs fly in English.  Never going to happen.

À la Saint-Glinglin. 
Translation: On Saint Glinglin.  Utilization: In France, every day of the calendar year is named after a Saint (for example, today, 16 Janvier, is the day of Saint Marceau and Saint Priscilia).  Some of the more famous fêtes du jour are really well known and observed.  But there's no such person as Saint Glinglin.  So when someone says "Yeah, we'll do that à la saint-glinglin" it means "Yeah, that'll never happen!"

Tout les trente-six du mois.
Translation: All the 36's of the month. Utilization: There is no 36th day of any month.  So basically saying there's a very slim chance of something happening.

Je connais la musique.
Translation: I know the music.  Utilization: When someone gives excuses for the same thing over and over again the response is Je connais la musique.  Kind of like "Yeah, yeah, I've heard it before."


Hilary said...

Thanks for the new expressions! I hadn't heard any of those yet, but I'm sure they'll come in handy. And don't worry, the subjunctive will sink in...eventually.

David said...

Saraly taught us one the other day when DeAnna said it was raining cats and dogs - Il pleuvra comme vache qui pisse. (Translation - It's raining cow pee)