Why You Shouldn’t Read Le Petit Prince

Why You Shouldn’t Read Le Petit Prince

Everyone should read Le Petit Prince when he learns french

Ok, tell me who started all this? Who?

It is not that I have something against that beautiful book — it is not my favourite french classic and certainly not the best! — and if you absolutely want to read it, go on, give it a try. 

(You can start off by listening to this playlist)

Here is the truth:

First, many French people didn’t read Le Petit Prince — or other classics by the way — even if they praise it and would fight tooth and nail for it!

Most of the time, they just studied some extracts at school. Only two categories of people would read the entire books: 

  • the motivated ones 
  • those interested by literary studies.

Second, you have to know that even natives may have difficulties to understand Le Petit Prince because it is complex since it is about imagination and poetry!

Thus it is absolutely normal if you face the same difficulties. One has to be really advanced in the language to understand the implicit, etc. 

Also, thinking about it, french literature is not set in stone: there are so much treasures to discover and promote…

For example, did you know that Simone de Saint-Exupéry, Antoine’ sister, was also a writer? She was older than him and when he started to be famous, he didn’t want another writer in the family (!). Despite that, she was a dedicated sister since she protected her brother’s work until the end of her life in 1978.

Their descendants, reporting they didn’t know why she didn’t do it herself, published her uncompleted but interesting childhood memories book, Cinq enfants dans un parc, to commemorate the centenary of the birth of her brother in 2000. 

I really want to pay tribute here to unknown or lesser-known authors like Simone de Saint-Exupéry who was not just “Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s sister”, but a person, a woman and a writer in her own right.

People like her make me reflect a lot on what is — or not — considered as major books and authors “you have to know”…

Anyway, there are so much great books to read out there so make your own way!

This being said, you will find below some reading advice if it can help:

1) Read books in french that you have already read in your language

Since you know the story, it will help you (and you can find bilingual versions if you want to start slowly).

2) Read french versions of “must-read” books from all over the world

For example, read again Anne Frank’s diary, Le Journal d’Ann Frank, in a french graphic version. You can also find french versions of short writing style books like Le manuel du Guerrier de la Lumière by Paulo Coehlo. If you feel ready for more, check the french versions of 1984 by George Orwell, La chambre solitaire by Shin Kyong-Suk (신경숙) or Les Délices de Tokyo by Durian Sukegawa.

3) Read books in french about topics you are interested in

If you like travel writing, go at Librairie Grangier downtown Dijon — it is the biggest bookshop around — and flick through the “récits de voyage” area! If you are more into crime novel, try Le Mystère de la Chambre jaune*, a classic by Gaston Leroux.

* Yes, it is a version for teenagers but who cares? You will find useful annotations

If you are a soccer fan, check out this book + CD: La fabuleuse aventure des Bleus (A2). It is about the french team who won the World Cup in 2018.

And for more suggestions depending on your level in french, check out this page!

4) Read classic (or not!) books in french

Classics especially dedicated to learners of french (teenagers and adults): for example, Le Tour du monde en 80 jours + CD (A2) by Jules Verne

Classics published in bilingual versions: check out this page

Short texts: for exemple an engaged essay, Indignez-vous ! by Stéphane Hessel (30 pages), an outstanding french diplomat, resistant, writer and activist who addressed a beautiful message to the french people in 2010 (3 years before his death) about what they fought for in the past and shouldn’t forget. You also have La préférence nationale and other short stories, first book by Fatou Diome who shared her experience of immigration in France with a unique and brilliant style.

Comics to relax (but also learn thanks to the images! ): you can find lots of classics adapted into comics and if you are a comics books fan, you have to know all about Franco-Belgian comics! Here is a selection that people from all ages love to read again and again: Le Petit Nicolas, by Sempé-Goscinny (also without images here), Cédric (Cauvin/Laudec/Dupuis), Boule et Bill (Roba Jean/Dupuis), Gaston Lagaffe (Franquin/Dupuis) ⇓, etc.

“There is black ice”

You have an opinion about a book from this list (or not!)? Share with us below!

NEW:

Check our Free Quizzes for Beginners!

(update 20/08/13)

Free B2 content: La Liberté d’expression en France

[Free B2 content] La Liberté d’expression en France

Today: session about freedom of speech in France with Eirini (Greece) and Ronald (Netherlands)!

What is the specific definition of freedom of speech in France?

What is the story behind?

Why is press freedom so important?

When is it important to protect or to put some limits on freedom of speech?

This issue is a good opportunity to publish our unique content as a free ressource for:

  • advanced students
  • Teachers of French looking for fresh ideas

“Ignorance and fear are my enemies but knowledge is my shield”

Go straight to the content

5 French Weird Expressions

5 French Weird Expressions

formal

1) emprunter les wc

= someone asks you permission to use the restroom

Est-ce que je peux vous emprunter vos toilettes, s’il vous plaît ?

borrow = emprunter

Imagine a situation where you make a delivery at a company, they don’t expect you to stay for more than that but you need to go to the restroom. You can definitely use this sentence to ask permission!

PS: the extreme politeness of this request makes it really hard to get you a “no”

colloquial

2) vous appeler quelqu’un 

= call someone for you

Ne bougez pas, je vous appelle mon collègue.

Don’t move, I call you “my coworker”

Imagine someone comes to you and you realize you can’t answer his questions but someone else in your team can so by using this sentence, you ask him to wait and you go call your coworker.


3) mettre quelqu’un bien

= do eveything you can to help someone feel comfortable and enjoy

Fais-moi confiance, je vais te mettre bien !

Imagine a friend is having a bad day so you decide to plan something special for him / her. Using that sentence means that he / she can leave everything to you.


4) remettre le bonjour 

= say hello to someone for someone else 

Vous remettrez le bonjour à votre femme !

Imagine you meet someone you haven’t met in a while (maybe you used to be neighbours for example)…

You talk about family, news, etc. and at the end, you ask him to say hello to his wife for you. It will be considered as small kindness.

PS: remember that if someone uses this sentence, you will probably hear “vous r’mettrez l’bonjour à vot’ femme”


5) être au taquet

= be at the limit of brackets (something that helps holding a door or a shelf)

Il est au taquet, lui ! Ça se voit qu’il veut réussir.

Imagine someone who is really motivated and does whatever it takes to succeed!

People around can say this as a compliment but depending on the context, it can also sound ironic or even mocking as an attempt to hide one’s jealousy…

Are there such weird expressions in your language? Share with us below!

Do You Need French to Apply to a “Grande École”?

Do You Need French to Apply to a “Grande École”?

Quick answer is “no and yes”!

For more, read the article below or go straight to your favorite part  


Are you dreaming of living and working in France, maybe in a famous company like Dior or a hotel from Accor Group?

By the way, since 2016, foreign graduates can now work in France!

Big French companies praise “grandes écoles” a lot. These specific institutions provide very high education level and they are separate from, but parallel and often connected to the main framework of the French public university system.


But hold on, let’s talk first about a fun fact 

aller à la grande école (1) faire une grande école (2)

(1) kids aged 6 going to elementary school

(2) students in their early twenties going to a “grande école”

Oups… Watch your words!


What is a “grande école”?

The name appeared during the Renaissance to refer to… Buildings where you could attend university classes. “Grandes écoles” indeed are big constructions, aren’t they? So it makes sense to focus on the container before the content.

Of course, the first post graduate schools in France were Royal Schools: engineers and military academies (17th-18th). It is just at the end of Early modern european period that “grandes écoles” were also meant for engineering and business education.

Today, there is no official list of “grandes écoles” in France. In 1992, the Ministry of Education described them as having:

  1. a selection based on a competitive exam
  2. a high education level

There are 3 kinds of “grandes écoles”:

  • dedicated to business and management education : according to the BCE, French institution in charge of the competitive exam, there are 21 business schools but we will focus here on the Top 10

By the way, did you know that 5 French “grandes écoles” are in the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2020? 4 of them are in our top 10 below: HEC Paris (ranked 9), EM Lyon Business School (ranked 79), Edhec Business School & Essec Business School (ranked 88).

Not only business schools aim at training the best students in business and management but they also offer lifelong learning to business owners and executives (see MBAs at ESSEC).

  • other institutions : selective and challenging institutions such as engineering schools, Sciences Po Paris, Paris-Dauphine, etc. were also influenced by “grandes écoles”.

⛔ Lets’ take a break here to talk about the hidden face of “grandes écoles”

Since they are selective and challenging – how ironic in the nation of equality … – “grandes écoles” are definitely not open to any French student! (Take a look at the drawing below).

So we can’t help but wondering if they are exclusive to people who can afford them? To people gifted with the perfect background leading them to the top jobs in the top companies?

Of course, “grandes écoles” are expensive and even before making it, students who can pay for private lessons definitely have a head start on the others!

Criticisms do exist about “grandes écoles” (check this abstract about “Les Grandes écoles, système dépassé ou produit d’avenir ?” – more in the French version) but as far as I am concerned as a French citizen and a language teacher willing to treat all languages and cultures equally, let’s admit that French “grandes écoles” definitely have a typical way of thinking, organizing, managing and running business. 

They have their own vision on how to deal with the economy and so will the human connections be impacted. And by exporting themselves out of France, they also spread – and impose ? – that vision.

Otherwise, why would ESSEC go in Africa after investing in Asia? Why would many other French “grandes écoles” hurry to invest in Morocco, Senegal or Ivory Coast (see this article in French)? By the way, let’s not forget that the age of colonialism remains a very sensitive subject in France (check here and here)…

How would the French public opinion react if academic institutions from asian or african countries would open schools in France?

And by the way, who run the “grandes écoles”? Who decide the contents? The strategy? The vision for future? How do they change – if they change -? Are the students or other publics involved in the process?

Global warming and environmental impact, consequences of Covid-19, overconsumption: we already face some of the big changes we feared the most

Do the “grandes écoles” – and not only the French ones ! – really fit to help us prepare for what comes after? Aren’t these the final hurdle which lead all of us to the present point: short term economic vision with profitability at all costs (including frequent unacceptable working conditions), damage of natural resources, etc., so many reasons “why we should bulldoze the business school”, reported The Guardian in 2018?

I hereby ask questions because I have no answer and also because it is up to you, if you still wish to attend a French “grande école”, to find answers 


6 good points about “grandes écoles”

Now that we talked about the story behind “grandes écoles”, let’s talk about how students benefit from them!

Apart from the cost, any French ambitious student would be more than happy to study in a “grande école” and here is why:

  • selective therefore prestigious, the “grandes écoles” are the must-do especially if you dream to work in hotel trade, luxury industry, restauranting, culture, art, design, pharmaceuticals, etc.

Look below how selective a “grande école” is and imagine how you will be considered as a non-French being able to make it!

  • high quality teaching staff and resources to help students: excellent working and living conditions on campuses (see example at EDHEC Lille). Students get used to networking so it helps for the future!
  • but at the same time, students are encouraged to take projects up: get involved in charities (see examples at TBS), start a business, anything to be able to learn from action! It is also easy to take a gap year in order to go more into your personal project, whatever it might be, in depth.
  • by the way, the “grandes écoles” make it really simple for French students to go abroad starting by providing them with challenging methods to learn foreign languages.
  • frequent dual-degrees provided, for example:

Let’s take a break here to name some French “VIPs” who graduated from a “grande école”

  • top executives
    • Christophe Bonduelle (EDHEC), CEO of Bonduelle 
    • Michael Burke (EDHEC), CEO of Louis Vuitton
    • Jean-Philippe Courtois (SKEMA Business School), Executive Vice President and President, Global Sales, Marketing and Operations for Microsoft
    • François Gay-Bellile (NEOMA), General Manager of Coca-Cola European Partners France 
    • Wilfried Guerrand (NEOMA), Executive VP in charge of Métiers and Data & IT systems at Hermès
    • Thierry Guibert (NEOMA), General Manager of Lacoste
    • Dominique Loiseau (BSB – Executive Program), CEO of Bernard Loiseau gastronomic restaurants
    • François-Henri Pinault (HEC), CEO of Kering (Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, etc.)

Click here for more


Top 10 of French “grandes écoles”

+ will you need French there? 

Classes in “grandes écoles” can be in English and French or only in English with French courses provided to international students. Basically, each “grande école” is different and so are the degrees!

Bear in mind that if you wish to get more skilled in a specific master’s degree for example, French will probably be required at to some point

See example in Skema’s FAQ: “Do I need to speak French to apply? No. SKEMA’s MSc and BBA programmes are designed for international students – they are taught and marked entirely in English. French is not required at all. To help you settle into your new lives in France, the school offers foreign students free French classes. For mastères spécialisés programmes, you need to speak French to apply.”

Anyway, if you come to study here in France with French students, you will soon be expected to reach A2 and then B2 at last, especially if you wish to work for a French company and / or settle down here. 

As far as the “grandes écoles” campuses out of France are concerned, it is impossible to know if French language is privileged in class and for which degree. You will have to check with each school beforehand.

Remember that if you graduate a dual-degree from a French “grande école”, you really can’t miss the opportunity to highlight your level in French whatever it may be due to the courses provided by the “grande école” or your personal commitment!

You will find below the Top 10 French “grandes écoles” with some examples of degrees and the language required

HEC*More about HEC & Asia, HEC & Americas, HEC & Middle East / Africa
ESSEC Global BBA in France, Singapore & Morocco
Master in Management in France, Singapore & Morocco
 ESCP BS* Bachelor in Management (BSc) in Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid, Turin
Pre-Master year studies for the Master in Management in Paris () or in Turin ()
Master in Management in the 6 ESCP campuses
List of postgraduate specialised masters ( and/or )
EM Lyon* More about incoming & Double Degree Students (Undergraduate)
More about EM Lyon campus in Casablanca
20 degrees in different locations ( and/or )
EDHEC BBA in Lille & Nice ( and )
List of worldwide academic partners
Audencia Business School*More about Audencia’s strategy abroad
Grenoble école de managementMore about Grenoble EM’s strategy abroad
SKEMA Business School*List of programs and degrees ( and/or )
NEOMA Business SchoolList of programs and degrees ( and/or )
TBSList of programs and degrees ( and/or )
*You can apply to Masters in Management in these 5 Business Schools on the same website JoinschoolinFrance.com

Lets’ also add Burgundy School of Business (BSB) ranked 15 and located here in Dijon but also in Lyon and Paris. Many programmes are delivered 100% in English with French classes available to international students.


How do you get into a “grande école”?

1) Selection based on a competitive exam after a preparatory class (1-3 years)for French people and French-speaking people

After high school diploma*, called “baccalauréat”, French students aged 17-18 (check here for more about Education in France), can attend a “classe préparatoire” (preparatory class) where they will be called préparationnaires during 1 to 3 years.

*If, and only if, they were selected beforehand from their performance at school! 

Since the 18th, this special class prepares students for the “concours d’admission aux grandes écoles”. Students can choose between Literature, Science and, since 1920, Economics and Commerce called “EC” or “HEC” but students call it “prépa épices” (spicy prep? ).

At this stage, things start getting serious… 

Life in “prépa” is very stressful so it is an excellent opportunity to learn dealing with the pressure, find a good work method and also focus on working really hard to read a lot of classics. Indeed, maybe you know how important it is to be able to debate and build reasoning in French education system…  

There, students get prepared for the yearly competitive exam leading to the “programme Grande École” of 21 French business schools (and 3 other schools). All of them deliver masters’ degrees. 

If failed, they can try again twice, it depends if they are satisfied or not with their results at the written and oral parts* of the exam. Also, students from French-speaking countries like Morocco or Senegal go for the same competitive exam as native students. 

*oral part of the exam was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic… A drama for lots of students who relied on it to expect a better result!

⚠ By the way, native or not, you definitely need to be perfectly fluent in French to be able to attend a “classe prépa”. Remember that even most French people can’t make it!

Students in “prépa” are not alone. They have access to useful information and advice thanks to media like Mister Prépa, founded by Benjamin Hautin, former student in “prépa” and a team of students

To apply for a “classe prépa”, visit websites below and follow instructions

( deadlines may have changed when you will read this article!)

  1. check information on your local Campus France agency
  2. application open from mid-November to March on Pastel.diplomatie.fr 
  3. then you will have to follow instructions on Parcoursup.fr (French version only…) from end of January to mid-March
  4. after that, don’t forget to apply for the competitive exam before the end of your “classe prépa”! Follow instructions on Concours-bce.com (French version only…).
2) Selection based on gradefor French people and non-French people

French students who did not attend a “classe prépa” nor have the competitive exam but graduated a bachelor’s degree at university for example can apply to a “grande école”. This is called “admission sur titre”.

Places are limited so they need to prepare their records! Specific honors may be required so as 2 or 3 reference letters and you definitely need to prove your motivation during the interview with the jury.

Non-French students face the same process but each “grande école” is free to require more, for example B2 level in French. 

Check requirements for the Master in Management at Skema and Neoma

To apply for a selection based on grade as a non-French student, follow instructions on Join a School in France

3) Access thanks to an academic partner in your countryfor non-French people

The easiest way to spend a semester or a year (or more!) in France and maybe get a degree from a “grande école” seems to apply for exchange programs your university may have with French “grandes écoles”.

Check examples of partnerships at HEC, Grenoble Ecole de management or BSB

Psst! How about you Start French Now to get ready? 💪

Did you find this article useful? Feel free to comment below and / or share with friends!

Discover 10 French Original Tales (ebook)

Discover 10 French Original Tales

How about improving your listening skills in French?

Feel free to take a look at this collection of homemade french stories* (B1 and above): “Raconte-moi une histoire en attendant le Ramadhan” (“Tell me a story before Ramadhan comes”)

*Yes, as an aunt and a teacher of French, I could not escape my fate: write tales!

picture: Voyages au pays des contes, acrylic paint 70x50cm by Saïda Richi
  • L’éléphant qui broutait l’herbe des océans 
  • Les Wimés et les Géants
  • Au pays du roi Souleymane 
  • Le jardin sur lequel il y a la maison de Mamie Bouture (dedicated to Coexister)
  • Elyes et les bulles
  • Le Hadj gentil
  • Emna, princesse-sourire
  • Une histoire tatastrophique ! 
  • Patapouf, chien-gardien de moutons
  • Une trottinette électrique pour l’aïd (dedicated to R2S)

Download the Ebook (epub format)

Purchase

Any question? Contact Samyra

When is the “s” in “plus” mute?

When is the “s” in “plus” mute?

Another big headache today with this article inspired by my british advanced student, Anna!

thanks 😊

Like I said in a previous article about “sentir vs ressentir”, as a native, you just k-n-o-w how to use the language but let’s dig more into the subject.

First, please note that we use “plus” in french when it comes to: 

  • negation: ne…plus (not anymore
  • comparative/superlative (superiority): plus grand (taller)

Now comes the headache!


We do have, for both, examples where you pronounce the “s” and where you don’t.

Let’s go for the inventory!


Plus with “s” pronounced

🔊

  • When you mean “more” before nothing, “de”, “que” and other situations

J’en veux plus ⊘ ! I want more !

À plus* ⊘ !  See you later (*Implicitly: “…tard” in “À plus tard”)

Non, ce collier a bien plus de valeur No, this necklace is much more valuable

Tu en as eu plus que moi You had more than me

⚠ Pronunciation will be “z” before a word starting by a vowel (or “h”)

 ⚠ In french, an “s” between two vowels is a-l-w-a-y-s pronounced “z”: 
Vous êtes plus à même que nous pour juger You are a better judge than us
Il est plus apprécié que ses collègues People have a better opinion of him than of his colleagues
Je vois, vous voulez pratiquer le français plus efficacement I see: you want to practice french more often
Tu es plus habitué que moi au froid You are more used to the cold than me

👉In fact, when you use “plus” meaning “more”, there are plenty of situations where it is possible to pronounce the “s” or not! It depends if you want to emphasize on this specific idea of “more”. Let’s talk about the sentence below:

 Je vois que vous êtes plus motivé que les autres candidats 
I can see you are more motivated than the other candidates

➨ I can let the “s” mute OR I can choose to pronounce it and if I do, it would imply that I think this candidate is r-e-a-l-l-y more motivated than the others!

  • When you mean negation before a word starting by a vowel

Pronunciation will be “z”

Il ne veut plus avoir à le répéter He doesn’t want to repeat it again

Be careful: it is possible not to pronounce the “s”!

For example, in the sentence below, you wouldn’t if you want to emphasize on the verb (and by the way, the pronunciation would be stressed on “veux”):

C’est terminé, je ne veux plus être en retard au travail!
Enough, I don’t ever want to be late for work!
  • When “plus” is considered as a noun

C’est vraiment un plus d’habiter au centre-ville It is a real advantage to live downtown

6 + 1 = 7 (six plus un, égal sept) In that case, you don’t make the connection with the word after even if it starts by a vowel!

  • When it comes to idiomatic expressions

De plus…. Moreover…

En plus…. Then / On top of that…

Pas plus, merci ! / Rien de plus, merci ! Nothing more, thanks

Tout au plus 10 euros At most 10 euros

Il y a eu plus de peur que de mal ! It was more fear than harm

Raison de plus pour… All the more reason to…

Sans plus ! So-so ( “sans plus attendre”: “s” is connected to “attendre” so the pronunciation is “z”)

De plus en plus… More and more… ( first “s” is connected to “en” so the pronunciation is “z”)

Plus ou moins More or less ( “s” is connected to “ou” so the pronunciation is “z”)


Plus with “s” mute

🔊

  • When you mean “more” before a word starting by a consonant

Ça coûte plus cher ! It is more expensive

C’est plus fréquent que ce que je pensais It is more often than I expected

Nous voulons pratiquer le français plus régulièrement We want to practice french more often

  • When you mean negation before a word starting by a consonant

On ne veut plus prendre la voiture pour aller à Dijon, il y a le TGV ! We don’t want to drive to Dijon anymore, there is the high speed train!

Tu n’es plus habituée à te lever tôt le matin You are not used to wake up early anymore

⚠ This rule also works before “y” (indication of place): Tu ne veux plus y retourner (You don’t want to go there anymore)

⚠ Sometimes, part of the negation is omitted (informal) 
Du pain ? Non, j’en veux plus (= Je n’en veux plus”) Bread? No, I don’t want bread anymore

  • When it comes to idiomatic expressions

À plus tard ! See you later!

Jamais plus ! / Plus jamais ça ! Never again!

N’avoir plus rien Have nothing more

Plus du tout Not longer at all

I hope this article helped a little! Bear in mind that the more you will practice, the more you will k-n-o-w instinctively

Are there such big headaches in your language? Share with us below!

Latest News (26/09/2019)

Latest News

⚠ Starting mid-October, please note our price* changes:

one-to-one class (1h30): 25€ => 30€

[A1] 10 courses (15h): 200€ => 250€

[A1] 20 courses (30h): 300€ => 350€

If you book a course with École Bonjour Dijon before October 15 — and even if your classes are after! — you will pay* our present prices so feel free to contact us asap!

PS: We remain really affordable compared to our competitors around and we stay focus on creating concrete and context-related contents

*All prices are before tax

Join our new intermediate french conversation group in Dijon and pay what you want!

“Sentir” vs “ressentir”: big headache to make the difference

“Sentir” vs “ressentir”: big headache to make the difference

The other day, during a session with Iva, one of my students, we happened to talk about two french verbs with very close meaning: “sentir” and “ressentir”. Iva asked me the difference between them and I was like…

So I told to myself: “why not write an article about it?

Not only these two look alike when you write them but their meaning is very close! As French natives, we just k-n-o-w when to use one rather than the other

Let’s talk first about the writing. As you can see, there is this “re” in “ressentir” which is the only visual difference. Most of the time, this prefix means that we emphasize on something which will be repeated or a return on a first action.

Examples:

commencer (start) ; recommencer (do again)

partir (leave) ; repartir (go back, set off again)


BUT here it is not the case with “ressentir” so be careful…

Sentir

These are the most common meanings of “sentir” nowadays (sources: CNRTL & Littré):

1) Percevoir (perceive)

  • with the sense of smell

example: “ça sent les crêpes !” it smells crepes!

sentir bon = smell good

  • with other senses (taste, touch)

Examples: “je sens le goût du citron dans la salade” I can feel lemon in the salad

“ils sentent le vent dans leurs cheveux”  They can feel the wind in their hair

  • with intuition

Example: “il sentait que sa mort était proche” He knew his death was coming

Extract of a poem by Guy de Maupassant, “Terreur” (Terror)

Ce soir-là j’avais lu fort longtemps quelque auteur.
Il était bien minuit, et tout à coup j’eus peur.
Peur de quoi ? je ne sais, mais une peur horrible.
Je compris, haletant et frissonnant d’effroi,
Qu’il allait se passer une chose terrible…
[Alors il me sembla sentir derrière moi
Quelqu’un qui se tenait debout]*, dont la figure
Riait d’un rire atroce, immobile et nerveux (...)

*Suddenly I felt like there was someone standing behind me

2) Avoir la sensation de (feel)

Se sentir + adjectif

“Je me sens toujours jeune” I still feel young

“Il se sent vraiment fatigué” It feels really tired

3) Faire comprendre (make something more or less clear)

Faire sentir quelque chose

“Tu lui as fait sentir qu’elle n’était plus la bienvenue” You made it clear for her that she was not welcome anymore

➨ here you can replace “sentir” by “ressentir”: “Tu lui as fait ressentir qu’elle n’était plus la bienvenue”

4) Other meanings in frequent idiomatic expressions

  • supporter (tolerate) : “je ne peux plus les sentir” I can’t stand them anymore

⚠ “ne pas / plus sentir quelqu’un” is only used with negative

  • se faire des illusions sur soi-même (delude yourself like to be full of yourself) : “Tout à coup, tu t’es senti pousser des ailes !” Suddenly, you felt ten feet tall!
  • s’attendre à un résultat (see something coming)

“Ça sent…”

“Ça sent le vécu !” It has a ring of truth about it

“Ça sent l’arnaque, cette histoire !” It looks like a scam to me

“Ça ne sent pas bon, ne fais pas ça !” It doesn’t look good, don’t you do it! (= it’s not a good idea)

Ressentir

These are the most common meanings of “ressentir” nowadays (sources: CNRTL & Littré):

1) Sentir ou éprouver un sentiment profond et / ou dont on se sent conscient (feel something deep and / or you are aware of)

“Je ressens de la colère quand j’entends ce qui se passe là-bas” I feel angry when I hear what happens there

“Elles ressentent tout le bien-être de la thalassothérapie” They experience the feeling of well-being of the thalassotherapy

➨ here you can replace “ressentir” by “sentir”: “je sens de la colère quand j’entends ce qui se passe là-bas” ; “elles sentent tout le bien-être de la thalassothérapie”

Le plus grand plaisir qu'un honnête homme puisse ressentir est celui de faire plaisir à ses amis.”  
The greatest pleasure of an honorable man is to please his friends

Voltaire, Les pensées philosophiques (1862)

2) Aimer (love) ❤

“Dis-lui ce que tu ressens pour elle !” Tell her how you feel about her!

3) Percevoir un sentiment chez une personne (feel something in someone’s talk or in something)

“On ressent le regret dans tes paroles” Anyone can feel the regret when you talk

➨ here you can replace “ressentir” by “sentir”: “on sent le regret dans tes paroles”

“ça se ressent…”

“Ça se ressent dans ta façon d’en parler, que tu es à bout !” (fam.)

➨ here you can replace “ressentir” by “sentir”: “ça se sent dans ta façon de parler, que tu es à bout !” (fam.)

4) Éprouver une impression en raison d’une cause extérieure (feel something from an external cause)

avoir un ressenti sur quelque chose (sense something)

“J’ai eu un très bon ressenti pendant mon entretien avec le DRH” I had a very good feeling during the job interview with the HR Manager

Are there such big headaches in your language? Share with us below!

Small towns around Dijon: the story behind “Thil” & “Tille”

Small towns around Dijon: the story behind “Thil” & “Tille”

If you come visit or move here, you will probably hear weird sounds to refer to some villages and small towns:

  • Thil pronounced “ti-le” like in “hostile”, “subtil”, “volatile”, etc.
  • Tille pronounced “ti-ye” like in “famille”, “gentille”, “myrtille”, “Camille”, etc.


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Thil (= linden tree)

Around Dijon, 5 cities are named with “Thil”: Aisy-sous-Thil, Marcigny-sous-Thil, Nan-sous-Thil, Précy-sous-Thil, Vic-sous-Thil.


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Toponymy is really interesting: the word “sous” means “under” so basically, it implies that these towns are under this “Thil” thing!

In the old days, “Thil” would refer to a linden tree so it is actually quite poetic

We can assume that lots of Linden trees of Sully still exist here (source)! Did you know that this tree was named after Sully, Secretary of King Henri IV (16th-17th)? Indeed, he wanted linden trees being planted everywhere in the villages, in front of the church or on main square.

A linden tree in Chaignay, 20km from Dijon, certified as a remarkable tree
(source: “Côte-d’Or : le tilleul de Chaignay a reçu le label d’arbre remarquableFrance 3 Bourgogne Franche-Comté – 03/09/2018)

There is also a famous local family with the name “Thil” starting with Miles de Thil, founder of the priory of Précy-sous-Thil in 1007. Nowadays, you still have many people out there named with “Thil” but with different assumptions about the origin (source: Geneanet.com).

Tille (= waterway)

River Tille (length: 82,7km) takes its source in the east of France and runs through 26 towns in Côte-d’Or: Salives, Barjon, Avot, Marey-sur-Tille, Villey-sur-Tille, Crécey-sur-Tille, Échevannes, Til-Châtel, Lux, Spoy, Beire-le-Chatel, Arceau, Arc-sur-Tille, Remilly-sur-Tille, Cessey-sur-Tille, Genlis, Pluvault, Champdôtre, Les Maillys.

Let’s notice that some are named with “Tille” and others not… Another mystery…

Anyway, 10 cities near Dijon are named after this river: Arc-sur-Tille, Bressey-sur-Tille, Cessey-sur-Tille, Crécey-sur-Tille, Is-sur-Tille, Magny-sur-Tille, Marcilly-sur-Tille, Marey-sur-Tille, Remilly-sur-Tille, Villey-sur-Tille.


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Let’s notice here the word “sur” — meaning “on” — implying that these places are located alongside the river. The word “tille” itself used to refer to a waterway in local language and after that, only one of the waterways kept the common noun which became a proper noun!

So now you know something that even french people who live here don’t!

As a conclusion, we can’t help but notice that the word “tille” looks like the french word for linden tree: “tilleul”. There is no coincidence here: in old french, tille or theille refers to a rope made of linden tree bark (source: Centre national de ressources textuelles et lexicales).

We end up realizing that « Thil » and « Tille » have a very close meaning and both help us dream about the countryside not that far from Dijon…

Are there such stories behind names of cities in your country? Share with us below!

Meet Sarah, Author (with subs)

Meet Sarah, co-author of a dark fantasy history book

french and english subtitles

PS: lots of relative subordinate clauses in this video!

All videos “Meet Them” are here: http://bit.ly/MeetThemDijon