French Acronyms

French Acronyms are an invasive species! But an integral part of the French language.

Can you decipher this text full of usual French Acronyms?

Marie-France, a French lady, citizen of the RF, lives in IdF. She commutes daily via the RER, STIF and the RATP to the center of Paris where she runs a PME SARL. She learned her business acumen at INSEAD. She deals daily with TVA, PVs, CFE, CVAE, the CNIL, the RGPD, but luckily she doesn’t miss deadlines and thus does not receive many LRAR.

When she goes on vacation to PACA, her favorite region, she takes the SNCF, a TGV or TER. She dreams of visiting the TAAF, as well as the DROM-COM to walk the famous GR on Ile de la Réunion. To get there she’ll fly from one of the ADP, probably CDG. She plays the FDJ lottery and the PMU once in a while hoping to win big to finance her trip. She also has a PEL and a PEA to save money. She shops at the FNAC or the BHV where she pays with her CB.

M…

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Valentine’s Day – When Cupid’s bow is fired…

Valentine's Day - When Cupid’s bow is fired… As far back as the early fourth century B.C., the Romans had celebrated an annual rite of passage for young men in honor of the god Lupercus. The names of willing young women were placed in a box and drawn at random by the young men. From this lottery each man was matched with a woman companion to share in mutual entertainment and pleasure (often sexual). In a year’s time a new lottery was drawn with new partners.  Needless to say the early Catholic Church fathers were determined to put an end to this practice. They decided to find a « lover’s » saint who could usurp the popularity of Lupercus. They found Valentine. In Rome in A.D. 270, Valentine, Bishop of Interamna, had performed the sacrament of matrimony for lovers in secret. Valentine was violating a law issued by the mad emperor Claudius II who believed that married men made poor soldiers because they were loath to leave their families for battle. Since the Empire needed s…
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Why is it called? Part 1: French Pastries and desserts

Why is it called … Part 1: French PASTRIES and DESSERTS Have you ever asked yourself why something is called by a particular name? Why are croissants, pain aux raisins and pains au chocolat called viennoiseries for example? How do things get named? Here is a short list of French pastries and desserts and how they got their names. We invite readers to add their own favorite pastries and desserts to the comments. Viennoiserie A pastry was created in Vienna in celebration of the end of the Turkish siege of 1683 in the shape of the Turkish crescent (croissant). An Austrian army officer named August Zang and his associate Ernest Schwarzer, a nobleman from Vienna opened the Boulangerie Viennoise at 92 rue de Richelieu in Paris in 1838. They were the first to make the pastries which were to become known as viennoiserie. Ironically even though the French name viennoiserie makes a reference to Vienna which is the origin of the pastries, in English these baked delights are called D…
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BEWARE THOSE FAUX AMIS 

BEWARE THOSE FAUX AMIS (WORDS THAT LOOK ALIKE IN TWO LANGUAGES BUT HAVE DIFFERENT MEANINGS, SOMETIMES DANGEROUSLY SO) AND INACCURATE TRANSLATIONS! You’re the Chief Information Officer of the French branch of a sprawling multinational, and you’ve been told to upgrade the entire system. Everything. The Works. There are hundreds of thousands of euros to be spent on software, hardware, related staff training and, in conjunction with the Marketing Department, a glossy communication campaign to let the universe know how ultra-wired you are. With almost puerile excitement you grab the phone, call the most renowned supplier in the world and are transferred to an eager young French sales-rep delighted at the opportunity to practice his English. You explain what you’re after. The young man says he’s thrilled to help but his own system is out today. Could you call back tomorrow, he asks, when he’ll hopefully have access to the documents he needs for his pitch. You call the next day. “T…
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The novlangue Covid Vocabulary list

We have never had so much new vocabulary come into play in a month. Many of the words can be used in both French and English, but there are a few cases where it is better not to mix them up. Here's a selection of what we have noted. Do you speak the covid? Do you know the French nuances? Here's a novlangue Covid Vocabulary list.

Rona, Coco or Kid Corona – nicknames for the coronavirus. It is important to name things when trying to deal with it. Naming things is a way to domesticate and control a situation. Americans use Quarn as a nickname for pour quarantine and the French Confifi for confinement.

La Covid-19 - Le Corona Virus - Watch out for the difference in genders! The Academie française - guardians of the language have decided that La Covid-19 is feminin because it is an acronym which stems from "maladie" a noun which is feminin. Le corona virus is "masculin" because the noun virus is masculin. Read more directly from the horse's …

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CONTEMPLATIONS ON CORONAVIRUS CONFINEMENT, CONUNDRUMS, CONSEQUENCES (in France)

This would have been my annual Paris Marathon article. Marathon postponed (we hope--i.e., as opposed totally ash-canned for 2020). My local chocolate-shop is closed. We are allowed to shop for only basic necessities (achats [purchases] de première nécessité). Isn’t chocolate a basic necessity? We are authorized to go out and run, albeit for only an hour per day. If we had an older, fatter president who had an older, fatter prime minister who had an older, fatter health minister, that number would be zero hours per day. This generation of leaders knows that depriving exercise addicts of their workouts in addition to their general mobility would put them over the edge. We (the media, scholars, doomsdayers, fortunetellers, your grandmother) have for years been predicting that Planet Earth will be brought to its knees by terrorism, natural disaster, trade war, real war. It is being brought to its knees by a microscopic organism that has be…
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Hogtied in the Hexagon? understanding France part 3 of 3

Hogtied in the Hexagon? understanding France Part 3 Our choice of 15 Books to help better understanding France. Part 1 of this article Part 2 of this article First of all what is "hogtied"? To hogtie is an Americanism that goes back to about 1890 literally meaning to tie an animal, in particular a hog, with all four feet together. Figuratively the phrase mean to thwart or hamper. So here is part 3 of our list of 15 books that'll help you feel less bewildered and understanding France. What is the Hexagon? The Hexagon is a nickname for France! (due to the mainland's nearly hexagonal shape) La puce à l’oreille: anthologie des expressions populaires avec leur origine Claude Duneton Fistfuls of everyday expressions are analyzed in their social and historical contexts. A marvel of curiosity, this book will teach you a great number of things about popular expressions. Tomber en quenouille, avoir la poisse, la veuve poignet, être un pigeon, rouler une pelle, pas piq…
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Franglais or Linguistic Stockholm Syndrome

Hints for Newcomers – Hindsights for Old-Timers

Franglais or Linguistic Stockholm Syndrome

by Shari Leslie Segall

Did I just say that? Did I? Wow! Our frequently appearing Hints-and-Hindsights are addressed to expats on a vast continuum ranging from the adventurers who arrived this morning with a backpack; no job; no apartment; no contacts; rudimentary, if any, French; and a healthy share of radiant optimism, to the hardy souls--whose numbers are, sadly, dwindling--who came to fight World War II, married a French demoiselle and never left. While this installment concerns the middle- and long-timers, you newcomers would do well to pay heed, as, whether you want it to or not, this will be your fate before long! Per http://www.linguisticsociety.org/resource/faq-how-do-we-learn-language, “By the time [a] child enters kindergarten, he or she will have acquired the vast majority of the rules and sounds of [his or her native] lang…
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Hogtied in the Hexagon? understand France part 2 of 3

Hogtied in the Hexagon? understand France Part 2 Our choice of 15 Books to help you better understand France. Part 1 of this article Part 3 of this article First of all what is "hogtied"? To hogtie is an Americanism that goes back to about 1890 literally meaning to tie an animal, in particular a hog, with all four feet together. Figuratively the phrase mean to thwart or hamper. So here is part 2 of our list of 15 books that'll help you feel less bewildered and understand France. What is the Hexagon? The Hexagon is a nickname for France! (due to the mainland's nearly hexagonal shape) Memoirs of Hadrian Marguerite Yourcenar Memoirs of Hadrian is a novel by the Belgian-born French writer Marguerite Yourcenar, the first woman ever elected to the Académie française (1980). It is about the life and death of Roman Emperor Hadrian. The book takes the form of a letter to Hadrian’s cousin and eventual successor «Mark» (Marcus Aurelius). The emperor meditates on militar…
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