When it comes to drawing-room political analyses, you’ve heard it all, and so has everyone else around you. So it’s time to make everyone sit up and pay attention. If you speak English, linguistics experts say 30% of your words are already of French origin, and you spout phrases like deja vu, femme fatale and avant garde, without batting an eyelid — but here are some more that’ll make you the toast of the town.
1. Après Moi, Le Deluge. Relevant to our ‘leaders’, the phrase refers to selfish behaviour by politicians or CEO’s who are only concerned about personal benefit, not the greater good. ‘After me, the flood’, is their attitude, meaning basically, the people, and the country, can ‘go to hell’ for all they care.
2. Cherchez La Femme. Wife, daughter, girlfriend, whoever it may be – look for the woman. Starting with Eve, everything corrupt a man does, can usually be traced back to a woman, who goaded him, directly or indirectly, to do it. Not that it absolves him, but it’s more often than not the case.
3. Plus Ça Change. French journalist Alphonse Karr penned an article with this phrase, “plus ça change, plus c’est même la chose” — the more it changes, the more it remains the same. It pretty much sums up the state of affairs in the Land of the Pure, don’t you agree?
4. Roi Fainéant. Basically, faineant is the equivalent of ‘do-nothing’; with the addition of roi, political clout is added, so it becomes King Do-Nothing, which sort of describes the man at the helm of affairs pretty well.
Now that you have these colloquial gems at your disposal, all you need is to practice and perfect the pronunciation!