Growing up I always believed the French had something over us in the area of love. Well who didn't think that really? I mean who ever heard of an English kiss? A Canadian kiss? But a French kiss we all recognize as the ultimate. Now that I am here working my way toward some level of comprehension, I have noticed a certain subtlety in this area that is certainly worth some effort to appreciate. Notice the differences below:
In English I say I have a friend or I have a lover. The words have very different meanings.
In French I might say copin or ami, but unless I give other indications you will not know whether this is my friend or my romantic partner.
In English there are two different but equally polite words, "sex" and "making love" for a similar act with perhaps a different levels of engagement.
In French on fait l'amour, whether in a casual or more involved sense. Yes I realize there are other words in both languages, but they are not typically used in polite conversation.
And of course I like my friend and love my lover. In English.
In French J'aime bien a friend, and j'aime my lover.
French is clearly more subtle and more complicated. Learning the simple vocabulary is important, but perhaps not sufficient to stay out of trouble. Stay tuned for my many mishaps as I work toward French fluency.
Seeking a Common Language