Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I had some trouble with my French homework the other day. In one column was a list of the beginnings of French Proverbs, on the opposite side were the finishing words for each phrase. For the life of me, I could not match them up. Uh....."At night all the cats....uh...have taste and color?".....or...." have to run?"

After FB came in and helped me finish the phrases, I realized why not one of them made any sense to me. Because none of them actually make any sense.

#1. Impossible n'est pas français. (Impossible is not French)

Given the amount of times I hear "ahhhhh, pas possible" on a daily basis, I'd say the word "impossible" is actually pretty frickin' French to me. Like, it could be the national anthem and should be right up there with Egalité, Fraternité, Liberté et Impossibilité. No offense but, come on....vraiment?

#2. On ne discute pas des goûts et des couleurs. (loosely, as in, we don't discuss things that are a matter of tastes and colors...)

OK, there about about 400 French talk shows dedicated to discussing exactly that and in a country where I have had to end countless discussions with "WHAT ARE WE EVEN ARGUING ABOUT????!!!" question would be: huh???

#3. Rien ne sert de courir il faut partir à point. (loosely, nothing serves to run, you should start on time....better to start on time than to run)

I don't even need to comment here, except to say that maybe this is some German proverb that snuck over the border. Or maybe "on time" is just relative and the point is more to never run? Ever? In your life?

#4. La nuit, tous les chats sont gris. (At night, all the cats are grey)

Please, someone explain to me what this means. My best guess which brought laughter from FB was: At night, it doesn't matter if a black cat crosses in front of you because it is grey so you won't actually have any bad luck.



ghersionmyjersey said...

hahaha. nice.
i live in montreal but i have a french boyfriend so i obviously love your blog.

my guess for that last cat proverb is something like at the end of the day, everyone is really the same.

margaret said...

"Egalité, Fraternité, Liberté & Impossibilité" !! Ah, TOO funny ... sounds like you're really gaining a deep understanding of the French "mode de vie". Hey, MONSTER CONGRATS on your 1st round La Baston victory--rock on KFD!

Anonymous said...

#1. Impossible n'est pas français

ah ah ah, I had forgotten this one... Seems it comes from something Napoleon once said... French arrogance!

#2. On ne discute pas des goûts et des couleurs.
Very french... use it if you are pissed of with / want to comment (and probably end) a discussion about, for instance, wether bourgogne is better than bordeaux... this sort of endless discussion when people just don't share the same taste...

#3. Rien ne sert de courir il faut partir à point

#4. la nuit tous les chats sont gris

a tough one. something like:

without light on things/facts, they all look the same...?
without enough information, we can not conclude anything...?


have fun :)

Anonymous said...

#4. la nuit tous les chats sont gris

Maybe something equivalent to-- "In a bar, everyone starts to look good after 2AM."

So be careful who you pick up. :P

Kimberly said...

Maybe you'd get some results if, the next time some shopkeeper tells you "pas possible", you hit her with "Impossible n'est pas français". Challenge her French identity!

amelie said...

Number three works as long as you are aware of the fact that "French time" is actually twenty minutes later than "normal time."

And they all work if you are aware of the fact that French people think that they are perfect and everybody else is causing all the problems.

And the last one... my French BF has no idea what it means... but if I had to guess I'd think it was some version of we're all the same on the inside/don't judge on appearance.

aviv said...

i've just "met" this blog, and i think i'm gonna stick around for awhile..:)
(btw - i hope you've already read David Sedaris by now -
that's why it gives me great pleasure to be the first one to solve the mistery of the grey cats:,_tous_les_chats_sont_gris