It is incredible to think, given the sheer size of our vocabulary, that there are some French words and phrases that simply don’t have an equivalent in English.
I am at that stage in learning the language where just understanding the literal translation is no longer good enough. The sense of a phrase or word-combination is becoming increasingly important to me; certainly if I am ever to reach the dizzying heights of fluency (but believe me – I’m still years away!).
Take this phrase for example:
“Un vachement bon pont de l’Ã¢ne.”
Amusingly the Microsoft online-translator Worldlingo thinks this means “A bloody good bridge of the ass.”
Which actually is not that far from the literal translation of “A cowly good donkey-bridge”, which as you can see – means absolutely nothing in English. So you can imagine my confusion when I heard this particular phrase in conversation!?
It means (more or less) : “A tremendously good mnemonic.” but the only way I could possibly have known this was if I had already been told so.
Now I know what they mean by ‘language barrier’.