This past week has been a hectic one to say the least! Mostly because of revision for aural exams. I had one but my house mate had three! One in French, one in German and one in Spanish. Not only was there aural exam stress, I also had to finish a 4,000 word essay for Friday. Only, I didn’t. I got the deadline wrong, thankfully I was three days early. All that aside, the problem of how one revises for a speaking exam is quite the conundrum as we have discovered in my house this week. Ian wisely went about reading tons and when he came across the occasional French idiom, he would look it up.
Now, French idioms are tricksy little hobbitses. Some of them appear quite similar to English ones. For example, where we would say “When pigs have wings”, the French would say “Quand les poules avaient les dents” when chickens have teeth. Equally as odd but similarly expressing the sentiment of “Whatever you big fat liar. Pull the other one, it has bells on.” Other French idioms are real red herrings however. I’ll always remember my A-level French teacher drumming in the phrase “Il a une araignée au plafond!” literally: he has a spider on the ceiling or in other words, “He’s gone a bit cuckoo”. How we’re expected to derive the dubious mental state of a person from being told about arachnids on the ceiling is beyond me but there you go.
During the week, Ian came across one such faux ami of a French idiom: “faire un caca nerveux”. Yes. That’s what we thought. On the surface, it looks like the phrase “to do a nervous poo” but upon closer inspection this was sadly not the case. According to the source of all linguistic knowledge wordreference.com (every single languages student has this site bookmarked and it is the sole reason we are all able to pass our degrees) to do a caca nerveux means to get very angry and freak out. There. Done! Ah but wait till we tell you what else was on the site: in the linguistic forums where another inquisitive person had asked the francophone world what the hell a caca nerveux was, a number of brilliant people had taken it upon themselves to provide the questioner with all the possible colloquial ways of saying to freak out. Below is that list. Prepare for some not so politcally correct hilarity and oodles of stupid ways of saying that you got a bit angry. They range from the mundane to the superbly ridiculous. My favourite is: to have or to throw a snit.
To throw a fit, freak out, wig out, flip out, throw a wobbler, go off the deep end, get one’s panties in a wad, get your knickers in a knot, have a hissy fit, have/throw a snit, fly off the handle, throw a bitch fit, throw your toys out the pram, go apeshit, go spastic, to chuck a spaz, lose it, go bananas, flip your lid, blow your top, go through the roof, do your nut, lose your rag, the red mist came down, to go postal, go berserk.
Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking have a rap battle. Yes. You read that right.