Sunday, February 12, 2006

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

I have just learned that, in French, a relative by marriage
is basically a beautiful thing. What I plainly refer to in English as my parents-in-law or in-laws translates to beaux parents or belle-famille.

ALL the new members of the French family are lovely:
belle-mère or belle-maman
beau-frère (which can be shortened to beauf

And in the eyes of your beautiful in-laws, YOU are...? Suddenly, there is a choice. Either they find you beautiful as well: belle-fille or beau-fils or they just acknowledge you as "the spouse of my child". In which case you are either a bru (daughter-in-law) or gendre (son-in-law).

And your own parents, brothers and sisters? There is no French adjective to automatically beautify their existence. I suppose this is not a problem as most of us have already spent enough time with our own family that, well, other adjectives quickly come to mind.

Photo: en Allemagne du Sud, en novembre 2004

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