I’m learning French. Many of you may wonder why I still need to learn French when I’m almost fluent (well, the more time I spend here, the less I think I know). One answer is that the French here is different than the French that I know. Let me give you a few examples:
Soir: This word means “evening,” but here “evening” is from 3:00-7:00. Repas: This word means “meal.” At lunch time one day I asked something about it being lunch. I was told that no, it wasn’t lunch. Instead, it was the “repas.” Payer: This word means something like “pay for.” Instead of “buying” something, most of the time people say that they “pay for” it. Chateau d’eau: This literally means “castle of water.” What it refers to is a water tower. I don’t think I ever knew the word for water tower, or bucket, or big bowl that you wash laundry in, or a bazillion other words that I encounter here but have never encountered before in French. C’est bon: This literally means “It’s good.” But if someone asks you if want some more of something and you say, “It’s good,” you aren’t saying, “It’s good, so yes, I would love to have some more!” Instead you are saying, “No thanks.” Pied: This means “foot.” But they use it to mean foot or leg or both. The same is true with the word for hand.
Yes, languages are different, and even the same language is different when spoken in different parts of the world. If only it were easy to remember all the differences!