No matter the level of our French expertise, we’ve doubtless all committed linguistic faux pas, the effects of which range from mild embarrassment to hilarity.
The authors of this super little book decided to capitalise on their own erroneous utterings by compiling a collection of the most amusing or useful linguistic faux pas, each of which are accompanied by charming little illustrations.
Some readers will be already familiar to those with a certain niveau of French language skills –for instance, “occupe-toi de tes oignons” (“look after your onions”) or ‘mind your own business’ is a favourite of many non-native Francophones.
However, some of the lesser-known or outré sayings are real beauties that reveal how the French see things slightly differently to the rest.
So don’t be one of those types with “des oursins dans les poches” (“sea urchins in pockets”) – ie ‘stingy’ – and treat yourself to a copy of this little charmer of a book.
Other Cats to Whip: The Book of French Idioms by Zubair Arshad & Graham Clark. Price $7.50. Idiomatic Publishing
Reviewed in France Today magazine