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MeryMonday 21st of March 2005 02:48:25 AM
Words with different meanings - Salut! :)

As you probably know, French is a language with a limited vocabulary (contrary to English for instance). I think we should try to gather words which have different meanings in this thread. It'll increase your vocabulary and prevent you to make terrible mistakes such as the one I'm going to mention at the end of my post.

Let me give you an easy example:
[color=red]une fraise[/color]
can either me a strawberry or a drill

Now, if you can, when you write your own examples, try to give us different definitions for your words (2 definitions are enough)

==> une fraise (a strawberry)= un fruit
==> une fraise (a drill) = un instrument utilisé par les dentistes

It was an easy example... Sometimes you'll be faced with words which have a positive meaning and a 'negative' one. So, one meaning of the word can be very proper and the other meaning extremely rude.

I have an excellent example to illustrate that. One week ago I talked to a Canadian friend from PB (the one who's going to visit me, some of you know the whole story ;)) and I told him that people who live in the south of Belgium have the habit to kiss each other in the morning. I asked him if it was the same in Canada and if he'll kiss people when he is in Belgium.

He replied:

je ne sais pas si je vais te [color=red]baiser[/color] quand je serai en Belgique :| (I don't know if I'm going to f*ck you when I am in Belgium)

He wanted to say: 'je ne sais pas si je vais t'[color=blue]embrasser[/color] quand je serai en Belgique'
(I don't know if I'm going to kiss you when I am in Belgium)

:D huge difference...

I had to explain him that:

un baiser = a kiss
baiser = to f*ck (the first meaning of 'baiser' was 'to kiss', but now it mostly means 'to f*ck'
embrasser = to kiss

Do you have examples of words with different meanings? If so, can you please post 2 meanings for each word you're going to post? If you have funny stories like mine, don't hesitate to share them with us ;)

I'll add more words (and stories lol) soon (if you're interested of course)

UlvenMonday 21st of March 2005 03:48:57 AM
- WOW! I'm glad I didn't have to learn 'baiser' the hard way. I'm relieved. Is there a safe way to say 'kiss', or you simply have to be careful not to use it as a verb?

The examples I have are English/French words that seem the same, but have a huge difference, correct me if I'm wrong.

decevoir/la deception - to disappoint/disappointment. These do not mean to 'decieve/deception'. One time, even though I knew the person wouldn't be saying "Ulven, you're decieving me", it did confuse me as to what they did mean. It turned out they just meant they would be disappointed if I left.

demander- to ask for. It doesn't mean 'demand'. Once you've learnt French for a little while, you'll know this word's meaning. But, I honestly found it scarey to use for the first number of months because I was worried I may be saying "I demand you to tell me the time".

Now, a couple French/French ones, but not dangerous at all;

le tour/la tour; le tour - the tour, but la tour - the tower

And speaking of that, Mery; I heard that in French, when someone tried to say I 'climbed' the Eiffel Tower using the word 'monter', they ended up sounding like they were trying have sex with it. I know that in English, the word 'mount' can sound funny when used as a verb ie. "I mounted the Eiffel Tower". But, I really don't see how using 'monter' in French could give the same impression. Do you know what the confusion could be, Mery or anyone? Or was somebody just lying about this situation?

le point- the mark/dot, the stitch, the place
à point- just right

But, is there another meaning of 'point' that negates a sentence? Apparently, it's not used much anymore, but I thought one meaning of 'point' made things into a negative.(?)

MeryMonday 21st of March 2005 04:41:09 AM
- Salut Ulven :)

I don't use the noun 'baiser' very often, not because it has a rude meaning because it doesn't have one, but simply because I prefer using the word bisou instead. It's a bit more informal than baiser. I really advise you not to use the verb 'baiser', replace it by 'embrasser' which is much better.

2 more expressions for you lol, just in case you want to know more about that topic
=> rouler une pelle à quelqu'un = informal way to say to give someone a French kiss
=> 'frencher', a verb used by French speaking people in Canada, it also means to give someone a French kiss. I like that verb lol, but I don't use it

All the examples you gave us are excellent, I have nothing to add to what you wrote. I agree with everything. I just want to comment on the meaning of the verb 'monter'. You asked my opinion on that a few months ago I think, but I forgot to reply lol. Imagine that someone says 'je vais monter la Tour Eiffel', I think I'll just find that sentence weird. It doesn't have a sexual connotation, I'm almost sure of that. I usually analyse what people say carefully and I'm very good at finding hidden meanings etc, but here I can't find any. It's just a weird sentence. If I remember well, that sentence was said by a French teacher. I think he just wanted to show off, to impress his students. Teachers sometimes say things which aren't true. I have a friend who asked his French teacher how to say 'I'm confused' in French and she replied 'je suis mêlé'. So, my friend started saying 'je suis mêlé', but I'd never say that! It was very weird and I told him to stop saying that sentence because I've never heard a French native speaker saying that. So, you see how teachers can be... they say things their students believe and don't contradict although they're sometimes wrong.

Concerning 'point', yes you can use it as a negation, but it sounds very formal and I don't think it's used by many people. I'd never say 'point' in a sentence.

An example: je ne suis point d'accord avec toi => I disagree with you , I'd say 'je ne suis pas d'accord avec toi'

Other examples or questions? :)
MeryWednesday 23rd of March 2005 11:32:31 PM
- [color=red]French learners who reply to this thread can earn from 1 to 20 S.E (Simulation Euro) ;)[/color]

Ulven already has 18 S.E thanks to his reply :D
tasya-la-poliglotaFriday 25th of March 2005 11:14:28 PM
- Salut!

I also learned that the French word "actuellement" does not necessarily translate to the term "actually" in English. The French "actuellement" means "at present" or "at present time". On the other hand "actually" means more of "in fact".

Another is the word "l'addition". This could refer to a "sum" or a "bill" in a restaurant, while in English it means "addition" (reminds me of math...argh!)

Also, for french words with different genders:

le livre- the book
la livre- the pound (money and weight)

le capital- capital (money)
la capitale- capital of a state or country

C'est tout! :)

EmDee1B86Saturday 26th of March 2005 02:09:15 AM
- Here are some more misleading words.

un canard=a duck
un canari=a canary

essayer=to try
essuyer=to dry

agréable=nice, pleasant

MeryMonday 28th of March 2005 09:12:56 PM
- Thanks Henzy and EmDee for all your good examples, I gave you S.E. for your answer ;)

Here are expressions you shouldn't use! Be very careful to them. I'm really sorry to mention them, but I think I have to (I took example 1 and 3 from my MSN conversations lol).

1. Never say to a young woman tu es bonne if you mean tu es gentille, tu es aimable, douée etc. Tu es bonne is an expression usually used by men when they're talking about attractive women (especially when they're attracted sexually to them). It's a pejorative expression.

=> example: Sandra est très bonne, j'ai envie de me la faire
= Sandra is very hot (more rude), I want to f*ck her

2. Avoid using the word Classroomte (feminine form of the word 'cat') because it means something you can guess ;)

Things you should never say !!!
- j'ai vu sa Classroomte
- elle m'a montré sa Classroomte
- elle a lavé sa Classroomte
- or even worse lol, j'ai caressé sa Classroomte

3. A funny story to end my post, the other day I was playing chess with my Canadian friend and I said something very stupid. I was extremely tired and wanted to go to bed, but we couldn't end the game. So, I wanted to tell him prends mon roi (take my king), but instead of saying that, I told him prends moi lol (take me). Even in French, you have to be careful to that expression ;) It's so embarassing when you say it lol.

:D Does anyone have other words or expressions?
KaariTuesday 29th of March 2005 07:52:33 AM
- "je suis"
While is can mean "I am" it is also a conjugation of the verb "suivre" which means -to follow or -to take (a course).


je suis
tu suis
il/elle/on suit
ns suivons
vs suivez
ils/elles suivent

While "tu suis" is reconizable as suivre (as opposed to être), "je suis" can become confusing to the new french writer/speaker! :)
UlvenTuesday 29th of March 2005 02:36:01 PM
- 'devenir' = to become, but...
'deviner' = to guess. Their conjugations are easy to distinguish, though.

devenir (to become)--> je deviens (I become), as venir (to come), je viens (I come)

deviner (to guess)--> je devine (I guess)

*Which raises the question, what is the French word for 'divine'?

Ah, oui Kaari. J'ai vu ce mots beaucoup mais je n'ai jamais le cherché. J'ai le deviné comme 'suivre', mais maintenant je le sais.

As for those other ones Mery, thanks. I'll be sure to use them frequently on my cyber-conquests.:Dlol

Kaari, je devine qu'elle est Bjork dans ta photo? Si non, tu resemble tout de Bjork.:)
J'aime Bjork. Elle est tres bonne uh.., I mean.. elle est tres 'interessante':D.
MeryWednesday 30th of March 2005 04:49:33 AM
- Haha Ulven :D Tu es trop drôle!

Merci à vous deux pour vos réponses, je vous ai ajouté des S.E. :p

N'hésitez pas à revenir poster d'autres mots et expressions. Moi, j'ai un nouvel exemple:

un poêle = a stove
une poêle = a frying pan

Je vais réfléchir à d'autres exemples *-)
RJan589Wednesday 30th of March 2005 11:43:50 AM
- été = been (verb)

été = summer (noun, masculine)