Saturday, March 04, 2006

What a little "beau" can do for you!

One of the very first words I learned in French was the adjective beau.

In English it means a dandy or a male admirer, boyfriend or lover that is usually rich and fashionable. (That's what girls really mean when they say a guy is handsome, isn't it?)

As a French adjective beau is everywhere identifying the beautiful: from être beau garçon to le beau monde. As if that wasn't enough, the French beau proves that he isn't just another pretty face. He's a hard worker impacting the French language with transformative powers that goes beyond beautification:

beau with nouns

un père = father > beau père = father-in-law, stepfather

bébé = baby > beau bébé = bouncing baby

parleur = talker > beau parleur = big mouth, smooth talker

beau with verbs
il fait beau = nice weather

faire le pluie et le beau temps = to call the shots

Il fait le beau = he is showing off
on a beau dire = say what you like

j'ai beau essayer, je ne comprends pas = try as I might, I don't understand
faire le beau (dog) = to sit up and beg

beau with the devil

se démener comme un beau diable = struggle like a madman

(from what I understand used in the sense of trying to escape from something)

être beau garçon = good looking boy
le beau monde = high society
belle is the femine form of beau

Photo: Hear Dinky, the amazing singing dingo, chez Jim's Place
à Stuart Wells en Australie, en octobre 2004

No comments: