Why is it called? Part 2: French place names

Why is it called… Part 2: French place names or toponyms Have you ever asked yourself why something is called by a particular name? Place names are also called toponyms. We've learned Paris was named for the Celtic tribe the Parisii who lived in the area (why the Parisii were called that is still up for discussion), that the Seine was named for the nymph Séquana. Here are some other topoynms from the Paris area. Feel free to add your town in the comments. Versailles: The most likely origin of the name Versailles, first mentioned in 1038 as land belonging to a person named Hughes, comes from the Latin word versare which means to turn over (verser, reverser in French) and probably referred to Hughes’s agricultural efforts of clearing and preparing his land for planting. “Un versailles” or “versail” in old French refers to cleared land. Stains: The name of the town of Stains, a town north of Paris, rings strangely in anglophone ears because we hear a noun that means "a mark that…
Voir Plus about Why is it called? Part 2: French place names
  • 7

Why is it called? Part 4: Clothing Etymology

Why is it called...? Part 4: Clothing Etymology Have you ever asked yourself why something is called by a particular name? Why are bérets called that? How do clothes get named? There is often a story. Here is a short list of some clothing articles and how they got their names, etymology. We invite readers to add their own favorites or ask about other clothes for which they would like to know the origin in the comments. We'll try to find the answer. Charentaises A charentaise is a general French word for slipper. It refers however to a specific pantoufle usually plaid which came from the area near Angoulême in the Charente region of France about 300 years ago. Hence the Etymology comes from the place. The area had many paper mills. At the time paper was made from rags and leftover felt pieces from the paper making were used to line wooden shoes, making them warmer and softer. A bit later a shoemaker from the town of La Rochefoucaud in the Charente had the idea to add a rigid s…
Voir Plus about Why is it called? Part 4: Clothing Etymology
  • 0

Why is it called? Part 2: French place names

Why is it called… Part 2: French place names or toponyms Have you ever asked yourself why something is called by a particular name? Place names are also called toponyms. We've learned Paris was named for the Celtic tribe the Parisii who lived in the area (why the Parisii were called that is still up for discussion), that the Seine was named for the nymph Séquana. Here are some other topoynms from the Paris area. Feel free to add your town in the comments. Versailles: The most likely origin of the name Versailles, first mentioned in 1038 as land belonging to a person named Hughes, comes from the Latin word versare which means to turn over (verser, reverser in French) and probably referred to Hughes’s agricultural efforts of clearing and preparing his land for planting. “Un versailles” or “versail” in old French refers to cleared land. Stains: The name of the town of Stains, a town north of Paris, rings strangely in anglophone ears because we hear a noun that means "a mar…
Voir Plus about Why is it called? Part 2: French place names
  • 7

Why is it called? Part 1: French Pastries and desserts

Why is it called … Part 1: French PASTRIES and DESSERTS Have you ever asked yourself why something is called by a particular name? Why are croissants, pain aux raisins and pains au chocolats called viennoiseries for example? How do things get named? Here is a short list of French pastries and desserts and how they got their names. We invite readers to add their own favorite pastries and dessert to the comments. Viennoiserie A pastry was created in Vienna in celebration of the end of the Turkish siege of 1683 in the shape of the Turkish crescent (croissant). An Austrian army officer named August Zang and his associate Ernest Schwarzer, a nobleman from Vienna opened the Boulangerie Viennoise at 92 rue de Richelieu in Paris in 1838. They were the first to make the pastries which were to become known as viennoiserie. Ironically even though the French name viennoiserie makes a reference to Vienna which is the origin of the pasrties, in English these baked delights are called D…
Voir Plus about Why is it called? Part 1: French Pastries and desserts
  • 3

Learn French! Speak Easy puzzle: Grin and bear it!

Speak Easy puzzle: Grin and bear it! Learn French! Enjoy this Speak Easy puzzle of expressions in English with the words BEAR in them. The word Bear refers not to just the animal, it is also a verb meaning to carry a weight (to bear, past tense bore). Then there is the homonym bare an adjective or verb for being naked. See if you can match the English expressions up with their French equivalent. It's a fun way to learn French and  some new idiomatic expressions to enrich your vocabulary. This Speak Easy puzzle comes from volume 1 of a series of three books of 48 puzzles available on : https://store.fusac.fr or at the FUSAC Book Room (a new place you just have to discover!) 42, rue du Chemin Vert, Boulogne, M° Porte de Saint Cloud Hear the story of how John and Lisa encountered a grizzly bear in Yellowstone Park. Bonus Vocabulary Grizzly is a large North American species of bear also known as a silvertip bear. French = Grizzli Grisly means disgusting and b…
Voir Plus about Learn French! Speak Easy puzzle: Grin and bear it!
  • 1

ABCs of life in France – Q to Z

The ABCs of life in France

In my 33rd year in Paris, here is an ABCs of life in France (the French call that an abécédaire, from the Latin abecedarium, which gave us the English rarely-used-outside-of-academia “abecedary,” which is sometimes employed to denote not only the document containing the alphabetic list but also the teacher or learner of the contents of the document, who can likewise be referred to as an “abecedarian”) of random fascinating facts and figures about France and Paris that for the most part are inhaled, absorbed, stumbled upon during decades of presence as opposed to learned in lectures, browsed in books, witnessed on websites. In other words, to know this stuff, ya gotta be here: ABCs of life in France Part 1 Letters A to H - Here's the link ABCs of life in France Part 2 Letters I to P - Here's the link ABCs of life in France Part 3 Letters Q to Z - Here's the link is for Queen: Or, if you will, king, princess, prin…
Voir Plus about ABCs of life in France – Q to Z
  • 0

ABCs of life in France – I to P

The ABCs of life in France In my 33rd year in Paris, here is an ABCs of life in France (the French call that an abécédaire, from the Latin abecedarium, which gave us the English rarely-used-outside-of-academia “abecedary,” which is sometimes employed to denote not only the document containing the alphabetic list but also the teacher or learner of the contents of the document, who can likewise be referred to as an “abecedarian”) of random fascinating facts and figures about France and Paris that for the most part are inhaled, absorbed, stumbled upon during decades of presence as opposed to learned in lectures, browsed in books, witnessed on websites. In other words, to know this stuff, ya gotta be here: ABCs of life in France Part 1 Letters A to H - Here's the link ABCs of life in France Part 2 Letters I to P - Here's the link ABCs of life in France Part 3 Letters Q to Z - Here's the link is two-for-the-price-of-one  Intellectuals/Ideas: They really do still exist. Those …
Voir Plus about ABCs of life in France – I to P
  • 0

Speak Easy Say Fromage

Say Fromage !

Match the French phrase or expression with the English.

As long as 7,000 years ago, cheese was being made in northern Europe — albeit in a simple and functional form, a new study reports. And cheese has been part of the language for as long. There are so many French expressions involving fromage, pain and vin that we decided to do a Speak Easy on the subject. We hope you will enjoy it and come back hungry for more (or maybe even buy the book!).

Order the Book - Commander le livre

Voir Plus about Speak Easy Say Fromage
  • 0