Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today in French

One of the things that gets tricky with learning another language is that there are some words that sound and are spelled very close to English words, but have different meanings. For instance, actuellement in French is more like "currently" than "actually".

Here's one that tricked me recently: Spirituelle. It is an adjective that does, indeed, mean something like "spiritual" in French. However, another, more common, meaning is "witty".

We were watching a French film called Entre les murs (Called "The Class" here), and there are these snotty street kids in the movie who keep making their teacher miserable. Often, he responds to their jibes by ironically telling them they are "spirituelle". It took me a minute to realize that he wasn't insulting their religion!


Holly said...

I often have these problems in German. Actual/aktuell is just like in French, and eventuelle is a problem (possibly/potentially), as is consequent (conscientious). There are others, and those little "a ha" moments are still happening. Probably never stops, if a person continues to challenge the limits of the acquired vocabulary.

Rufus said...

One that often bedevils me in French is when sentences begin with the word Or, which means "However". I always have to think about it.