A cowly good donkey bridge

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A cowly good donkey bridge

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’âne.”

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’.

By | 2007-05-29T22:07:07+00:00 May 29th, 2007|Strasbourg|0 Comments

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