Monday, April 6, 2009
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?