Thursday, June 14, 2012

140 Characters Rock France!

All she said was, "Courage à Olivier Falorni qui n'a pas démérité, qui se bat aux côtés des rochelais depuis tant d' années dans un engagement désintéressé," but French First (unmarried) Lady Valérie Trierweiler has started a media storm in France by endorsing-by-Twitter a candidate in the parliamentary elections. The man she endorsed just happens to be running against her boyfriend's (President Hollande) former long-time lover and mother of his children, Ségolène Royal. The whole thing is almost too bizarre for American minds to fully grasp. When they were together, Hollande and Royal were rivals, competing for the same post! (Imagine them in bed!) Then he dumps her not for a trophy girlfriend but for another middle-aged woman, an aggressive journalist who's nickname is "Rottweiler," and what any of these attractive women see in him is a total mystery, and to top it off, he wins the presidency that Royal wanted so badly and moves into the presidential palace or whatever they call it there with Rottweiler. Who promptly embarrasses him. But this is a language blog, and what caught my eye was the opening phrase: "Courage à Olivier Falorni..." The first time some wished me "courage" in France I took it literally. (Understandably: the context was, a taxi driver asked where we were from, and when we said, America, he replied, smiling, "Courage!") But this is one of those words or phrases (it's sometimes "bon courage!" that can mean a lot of things, from simply "have a good day" to "good luck" to "you're not going to have such a good day, but, chin up!" to "Good luck -- you're going to need it!!" The French, by the way, are always wishing everyone a "bon" something or other: Bon jour, bonne journée, bon appétit, but that's a topic for another day. Meanwhile I'm going to find some interesting French Twitter feeds to follow. Seems like it might be a good way to learn French in (very) manageable bites.

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