Wednesday, 27 May 2009

More "nice"

One of things I love about French is that there are so many expressions wishing people well. Of course everyone knows "Bon appetit" which translates as "Enjoy your meal". Here everyone eats at midday so when my class finishes at 12 and my students leave, everyone wishes each other "bon appetit", which is so nice.

Then there is "bonne journée" - have a nice day. Bonne soirée - have a nice evening. Another famous one: "Bon voyage" - have a good trip. "Bon retour", have a safe journey home. Bon séjour - have a good stay. There are many more which translate directly: Bon anniversaire (Happy birthday), Bonne Année (Happy New Year).

Less well-known expressions include: "Bon courage" - good courage literally. This is a great, encouraging phrase which we might translate as "good luck" but really has nothing to do with luck. Bon courage for your exams for example ("break a leg"), bon courage when dealing with a tricky problem ("chin up"), bon courage when carrying out some particularly difficult task ("hang in there").

"Bonne continuation" means a whole load of things too: keep up the good work, all the best, enjoy the rest of your meal (when it is said at the beginning of the second course), enjoy the rest of your day, the rest of your holiday ...

And then many of my friends use "bon" in almost any situation: bonne promenade (have a good walk), bon mariage (have a good time at the wedding), bon bricolage (enjoy your DIY)!

How lovely to find so many ways of wishing people well!

By the way, here is a photo of an inhabitant of our little village who we saw on a walk today.

Bonne soirée

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