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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French phrase of the Day: Langue de Molière

Why a 17th-century playwright is still relevant to your struggles to learn French.

French phrase of the Day: Langue de Molière
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know La langue de Molière?

Because it’s used in lots of contexts that having nothing to do with theatre or history.

What does it mean?

It means ‘the language of Molière’, but really it means French and it’s a very frequently used synonym for the French language.

Molière (real name Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) is France’s most famous and revered playwright. His plays, written in the 1650s, 60s and 70s and can be a touch inaccessible for French learners but his themes – hypocrisy, corruption and power – have certainly stood the test of time.

And his reputation in France is such that la langue de Molière has come to simply mean the French language and is used in a wide variety of contexts.

How to use it

ll compose et écrit des textes dans la langue de Molière – He composed and wrote lyrics in French
 
La langue de Molière devient langue officielle dans cet état et est enseignée dans les écoles – French became the official language and was taught in schools 
 
 
40 pourcent des chansons diffusées à la radio française doivent être chantées dans la langue de Molière – 40 percent of songs on French radio must be sung in French
 
Synonyms

The formal designation of the French language is la langue française or simply française, but French also has some poetic descriptions for other languages.

La langue de Shakespeare – English (anglais)

La lange de Goethe – German (allemand)

La langue de Cervantès – Spanish (espagnol)

La langue de Dante – Italian (italien)

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: La clim’

You'll definitely want to know about this during the summer.

French Expression of the Day: La clim'

Why do I need to know la clim’?

Because the lack of green spaces in cities might find you looking desperately for fresh air.

What does it mean?

La clim’, pronounced la-cleem, means air conditioning, it is a shortened version of la climatisation.

Climatisation comes from the word climatiseur, which itself comes from Klima in Greek and means the inclination of planet Earth from the equator to the poles. This inclination of the planet on its axis is responsible for the seasons and if you find yourself in a French city in August your inclination will definitely be towards climatisation.

Air-conditioning in private homes is not common France, some hotels have it but not all and in the summer months restaurants will often advertise air-con if they have it, as a way of luring in hot-and-bothered tourists.

If you find yourself desperate for cool air, head to a supermarket – almost all French supermarkets are air-conditioned in the summer. Or for a more fun option just head to the nearest city fountain or water feature and join the locals who are splashing around to cool off.

Use it like this

Il fait très chaud, avez-vous la clim’ dans votre hotel ? – It’s really hot, do you have air-con in the hotel?

Je n’aime pas mettre la clim’ en route car cela est mauvais pour la santé et l’environnement – I don’t like turning on the AC, it’s bad for my health and for the environment

Il fait froid, peut-on s’il vous plait éteindre la clim’ ? – It’s cold, could  we turn off the air-con?

La clim’ fait beaucoup de bruit, pouvons-nous la mettre en sourdine ? – This AC is really noisy, could we turn it down?

Synonyms

Un climatiseur – the formal name for an air-conditioner (in French the air conditioning is feminine by the air conditioner is masculine)

Un ventilateur – a ventilator

Un Brumisateur – a ‘fogger’ – these machines which pump out cool water vapour are often seen on the streets and in parks during the summer

Un Rafraichisseur d’air – an air freshener

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