France vs. Germany

There’s been a lot of talk about the state of the European Union, how a Greece’s economic woes are bringing down the entire EU economy and the Euro along with it. This is one of the Right’s fundamental problems with socialism; the prosperous support the short-sighted. But, that’s what socialism means: we support each other.

Here’s a great NPR interview:

My favorite part is when the on-air economist says, “The Germans believe in binding rules and strict discipline and punishments for those who break the rules. The French don’t really like that idea. They prefer political management, political control, government discussing their problems around the table. However, although France and Germany have very different viewpoints, they will always reach a compromise in the middle.”

Its amazing how the same fundamental fight manifests itself across epochs.



I have this theory that the closer we get to modernity, the more similar French and English farmwords.

Rake ::  Râteau

Pitchfork ::  Fourchette
A side note, I really like wikipedia’s cultural definition of the pitchfork:
“The pitchfork has frequently been used as a weapon by those who couldn’t afford or didn’t have access to more expensive weapons such as swords, or, later, guns. As a result, pitchforks are stereotypically carried by angry mobs or gangs of enraged peasants.”

Tractor ::  Tracteur


Its interesting to learn a whole new set of French words.  As I’ve mentioned, I often try to guess French words by taking an English word and putting a French accent to it.  After you’ve got the French accent down, the trick to this is to say the word with more emphasis on the END of the word, as opposed to the beginning.  Even through the French often don’t pronounce the ends of the words, they tend to put more emphasis on what they do pronounce.  For example, the French people say parkING, while English speaking people say PArking.

But, trying to guess words on a farm does not work. In fact, the only similar word that I can think of is the ferme, farm.  All other words I’ve come across are extremely different.

It makes sense, really. Descriptive adjectives transcend borders.  The international community is apt to share ideas and the terms related to those ideas.  Agriculture, on the other hand, is the terre. Its of the earth; agricultural words do not transcend borders, they stay close.

Here’s a few:


sheep :: mouton

OK the British use mutton (adult sheep) for shepherd’s pie, but I’m pretty sure they lifted it from the French.


ewe (female sheep) :: brebis

ram (male sheep) ::  bélier


lamb :: agneau


goat :: chèvre


kid (baby goat) :: chevreau


billy/buck (male goat) :: bouc
OK that one’s the same.


horse ::  cheval


donkey ::  âne
More to come…

60 Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong

If you have spent or plan to spend any significant time in France, you MUST read this book.

Bible : God :: 60 Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong : Understanding the French.

60 Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong not only explores Franco-Americano relations, but it also has a deep understanding of the French. Same as the Bible, just a different truth.

I’m reading the sequel now…

French test

Mes chers auditeurs.

As I mentioned, my French ma grammaire française tests don’t turn out so well.

Lucky for me, the obligatory pre-graduation CLEP French test is multiple choice.  Half of the test is oral, I listen to a paragraph and answer questions.  The second half is reading comprehension, I read a slightly more complex paragraph and answer questions.

I think the test is going to be easy.  I have fairly complex conversations in French on a daily basis, and the test is more along the lines of “the woman wants to change companies because she prefers a small enterprise.” Does she:
a. want to change to a large enterprise
b. want to start a new business
c. want to change to a small enterprise