un rideau


A special treat for you today: Barbara is back with a column on French homonyms. Read it in English or French. Either way, enjoy!

pareil, pareille (pa-ray) adjective

    1. the same   2. equal

du pareil au même = exactly the same
n'avoir pas son pareil = to be remarkable
sans pareil = unparalleled, unique
rendre la pareille = to get revenge on someone

Citation du Jour:
Le tennis et le ping-pong, c'est pareil. Sauf qu'au tennis, les joueurs sont debout sur la table. Tennis and ping-pong, it's the same thing. Except that with tennis, the players stand on the table. --Coluche

Les Homonymes  by Barbara Barles

In French there are many words that have the exact same pronunciation but a completely different meaning. For this reason, it is important to know the French spelling so as not to mistranslate!

Orally, the phrase's context should permit one to know which word is being employed. Here are a few examples (following French text):

En Français:
Il existe en français de nombreux mots ayant une prononciation exactement identique mais un sens tout à fait différent. C'est pourquoi il est important de bien connaître l'orthographe française afin de ne pas faire de contre sens!

A l'oral, le contexte de la phrase doit permettre de savoir de quel mot il s'agit. En voici quelques exemples:

- Fin (n.f.) et faim (n.f.)
(end and hunger)
pronounced "faN" (silent n, nasal)

- Pot (n.m.) et peau (n.f.)
(pot or jar and skin)
pronounced "poh"

- Voix (n.f.) et voie (n.f.)
(voice and road)
pronounced "vwah"

- Sot (adj et n.) (fém:sotte), sceau (n.m.), seau (n.m.), saut (n.m.)
(foolish, seal, bucket, jump)
pronounced "so"

- Encre (n.f.) et ancre (n.f.)
(ink and anchor)
pronounced "ahn-kre"

- Signe (n.m.) et cygne (n.m.)
(sign and swan)
pronounced "see-nyuh" (sort of!--just don't insist on the "yuh")

Barbara Barles is a French legal expert based in Toulon, France.
Learn French with Fluenz softwareRecommended by French Word-A-Day readers! Learn French with Fluenz French -- includes engaging, interactive workouts to improve your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills -- including a recording engine to perfect your accent.  More info here.

Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, please know your donation towards this effort makes all the difference! A contribution by check or via PayPal (links below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!

♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

To purchase our memoir, THE LOST GARDENS click here.