For members


French expression of the day: Chanter en yaourt

Contrary to what the name suggests, this is an activity that vegans and the lactose-intolerant can get involved with too.

French expression of the day: Chanter en yaourt
Why do I need to know Chanter en yaourt?
As it's a festive time of the year with the odd party and celebration you might find yourself having to do a bit of this, if you're not quite up to speed with all aspects of French tradition and culture.
What does it mean?
Its literal translation means 'sing in yoghurt' but fortunately no actual dairy products are involved in this.
If you've ever been in a situation where everyone around you is singing lustily along to a song that you don't know the words of, you might find yourself tempted to sing in yoghurt.
The phrase means the process of trying to sing along, but without words. Its dictionary definition is “a technique that consists of singing while producing sounds, onomatopoeias, syllables that make you think it is a real language.”
Mes beaux-parents nous ont fait chanter tous ces chants de Noël français traditionnels, mais je ne connaissais pas les paroles, alors j'ai chanté en yaourt – My in-laws made us sing all these traditional French Christmas songs, but I didn't know the words, so I just sang in yoghurt.
Or if you're the one at the France match singing “Allons, enfants le la Patrie, ne ner ne neer, de de la aaa” you are also singing in yoghurt.
Not quite singing, but along the same lines is this clip from the 1998 World Cup, when then-president Jacques Chirac was filmed attempting to shout along with the players' names, while quite clearly not knowing any of their names.
Apparently he was more of a Sumo enthusiast than a football fan.

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For members


French Word of the Day: Doper

This French word does not have anything to do with one of Snow White’s seven dwarves, even if it might look like it.

French Word of the Day: Doper

Why do I need to know doper?

Because you may not have realised you can use this word in several different contexts.

What does it mean?

Doper roughly pronounced doe-pay – shares the same meaning as the English word “to dope” – in the sense that it means taking or giving a stimulant before a sporting event or competition. 

It doesn’t carry the English sense of ‘to sedate’, however, nor is it used as a nickname for marijuana. 

In French this word is not only used when describing an athlete who has resorted to unfair methods to win. In fact, you will see this word in many other contexts as well because doper also means to stimulate or boost something in a generic sense. 

If you open a business newspaper in France, you might see an article using doper in the headline – perhaps one that discusses how the government plans to stimulate a dying sector of the economy.

If you want a synonym for doper, you can still use the verb stimuler (to stimulate) or dynamiser (to rejuvenate).

And Snow White? In France she is Blanche Comme Neige and the dwarfs are Prof (Doc), Timide (Bashful) Atchoum (Sneezy), Joyeux (Happy), Dormeur (Sleepy), Grincheux (Grumpy) and Simplet (Dopey).

Use it like this

La France dispose d’un plan national pour doper une énergie renouvelable prometteuse : la géothermie. – France has a national plan to boost a promising renewable energy: geothermal.

Les récentes réductions d’impôts et certaines autres mesures prévues sont destinées à doper l’emploi. – The recent tax cuts and other measures planned are intended to boost employment.