Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Wondrous Words: Words in French We Love


"...they even have a sort of language police in France, guardians dedicated to protecting the French language – mostly from foreign word invasion! The Académie Française was created in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu in an attempt to make the French language ‘pure and comprehensible to all’. Ever since then, except for ten years when the French Revolution put them out of business, their forty members, known as ‘the immortals’, have looked after French words – both new and old. They are based in a beautiful building in Paris, opposite the Louvre, and have an official uniform, a long black coat with gold embroidery rumoured to cost £40,000, and that doesn’t include the sword they have to carry for official engagements – presumably to cut through the claptrap. It’s a very elitist group made up of writers, historians and even politicians. If an English word creeps into popular usage, the Académie Française will come up with an alternative and urge everyone in France to use it."

Marsh, Janine. My Four Seasons in France (p. 212). Michael O'Mara. Kindle Edition. 

I've just finished My Four Seasons in France, the story of two Brits who settle in a rural village in France. 

I've learned a lot about France and French and the French. Did you realize there is a language police for French? The French believe their language is the most beautiful, the best, and they take steps to protect it. 

Here's what I think: I agree; French is best. We have no English police, and I shall add as many French words as I can to my daily chit-chat.

I'm starting with these.

I especially like words with accent marks or other curious symbols in French. 

What are your favorite French words? What French words would you like to include in everyday life?

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered, or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative! It was first created by Kathy over at Bermuda Onion and is now hosted at Elza Reads.


  1. Deb,

    The first French word to come to mind is Jet'aime. That's because DH took French in high school and he taught me that much. I definitely recognized most of the French words you featured and I loved that you placed the pronunciation with each one. The French language is very pretty to listen to but honestly I'm glad there aren't any English language police because I know I'd get reprimanded or worse placed in grammar jail until I paid corrected my speech. I'm not opposed to saying words properly but after years of misunderstanding how something is said no thanks to my poor hearing and even if it gets called to my attention, I instantly say it the way I've always said it. Maybe I'll get all of those wrong words right before I exit this life. Thanks for sharing the fun today! ;)

  2. As a Brit who spent several years living in un village Français, these words took me right back! A delightful piece.

  3. It is a beautiful language. And we could use a few English police. I love "j'taime" and "Merci." "S'ils vous plait." And of course, "Chat!" I have a song I sing to LIzzie -- "Lizzie Cosette, elle est tres bon chat!"

  4. Oh Debbie! You are soooo the best!! Loved this post! I've heard about the French language police. I can't remember where, but when I read your post now, it immediately rang a bell.

    So sorry I didn't do a WWW today! It really is a hectic time with me, but this too shall pass. I just managed to get my blog tour post out.

    I promise to be back with WWW in two weeks time and will hopefully be on The Sunday Saloon again on Sunday!

    Enjoy the rest of your week.

    Je t'aime! Au revoir for now!

  5. Well you made me dislike the French even more now but them most Brits dislike them anyway

  6. I was surprised that I knew a few of these.

  7. I took two years of French in high school and I love the language. I would use, je ne sais quoi, merci beaucoup, desole, merde and pardon. :)

  8. French is fascinating language, so melodic!

  9. How very clever; you've outdone yourself!

  10. yes indeedy i did know about the french language police. They were always trying to get rid of words like picnic and le weekend that the french insisted on using. hubby and I use french to each other often. having done it at high school, we still remember lots of words. and my sister and i often say au revoir Guy when we part (this was in our high school french book!). and hubby's sister married a french man so french is a big part of our lives.

  11. This book sounds delightful and I do love French. I studied it for 6 years and we love to watch a lot of international crime shows and when we watch French ones I try to test my knowledge! How wonderful that you are going to incorporate more French in your life. Très bien!


I love to hear what you think.