Monday, April 6, 2009

Faux Amis

Faux amis (false friends) are those French words that you think you know because they seem so much like a word you know in English only it turns out you haven't got a clue. (Seriously, even after 20 months in Paris, this is still my default state of mind.) Like "actuellement" which seems like it should mean "actually" when in reality, it means "at the present time."

So let me explain that you don't go to a droguerie to buy drugs. (In fact, "drogue" is typically used for things like heroin or cocaine. "Medicament" is the term to use if you're looking for pain relief or cough syrup. And you buy that stuff at the "pharmacie.") Nope, a droguerie is kind of a cross between a hardware store and a kitchen store --- a sometimes eclectic mix of stuff for the house and garden ranging from pots and pans and cleaning supplies to gardening gear to light electrical gear.

Now that that's all cleared up, don't forget that "collège" means "middle school" and "monnaie" simply means "change," not "money." Got that?


Starman said...

Les drogueries are some of my favorite stores in France. You never know what little goodie will be waiting under some innocent bin of miscellaneous items.

Kim B. said...

And of course there is "La Droguerie" which I guess is just a play on the old term -- it's a (small) chain of charming sewing notions stores .. . I know there is one in Parisn and one in Strasbourg. I could go and look at the yarns and ribbons for hours . . . sooo beautiful.

Harriet said...

I enjoy your site. What about assister à -- that one gets me all the time. Thanks for the info on la droguerie. Sounds like a great place for browsing.

Anne said...

Harriet: Glad you enjoy my blog. "Assister" (meaning "attend") got me during my first months here. I received an invitation to an event and had to check "oui" or "non" to the question of "assister." I knew that I didn't want to help with the arrangements so I didn't check anything. The people handling the RSVPs must have been wondering whether I would attend or not!

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