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One of the few pleasures of my daily struggle to master French is that every so often I learn a new word that really tickles me.

Des femmes travaillent

Roadsign men at workI still hide a little smile every time we drive along the motorway and I see the Des hommes travaillent sign. I know it means ‘Men at Work’, but my head always goes for the literal ‘some men are working – and it’s so remarkable we’ve put up a sign to let you know’ version. Same for walkie-talkie. Oops, sorry that should be talkie-walkie. And I haven’t quite got to grips with the fact that the French can talk about a dead person as a défunt and keep a straight face.


My favourite word for a long time has been saperlipopette ! But now I may have a new one. I came across it in an article in Le Monde which talked about a report claiming that breast cancer was caused by sexual frustration. They quite rightly described it as abracadabrant (bizarre, ludicrous). What a fabulous word! Now I just need to find a way to use it.