This post is part of Linda G Hill’s “Stream of Consciousness Saturday” — Come join in the fun!
Today, in continuation of Linda’s last SoCS, I am feeling insouciant. That is, sans souci (without worries) It’s a good day, I have all my senses about me, I have sensed no danger or worries. I bought some cinnamon-scented pinecones at Whole Foods last week, which are now attacking the senses of anyone who walks in my house. But in a good way, I think.
As I continue to study la belle langue française, I have noticed that there are many many French words which are homophones, and the set I thought about immediately upon reading the SoCS prompt for today was the one which includes sans, sent/sens, s’en, sang et cent. Upon reflecting on these words, I lost a bit of my insouciance. Sans sens, il s’en va. Sans sang, il ne s’en va pas. Je lui ai dit cent fois de ne pas utiliser un grand couteau pour couper une petite framboise.
I found the most delightful little play on words while conducting a search for French homophones…it goes like this: Santé n’est pas sans ‘t’, mais maladie est sans ‘t’. In which the word “santé” (meaning “health”) sounds the same as the two words “sans t” (meaning “without a letter ‘t'”) So the word meaning “health” is not without a letter ‘t’, but the word meaning “illness” (maladie) *is* without a letter ‘t’, which, when you say it out loud sounds like the word for “health.” So it seems like you might be saying, “Health is not health, but illness is health.” Anyway, I think it’s delightful in French. It doesn’t really seem delightful when I try to explain it in English.
This reminds me of an embarrassing story regarding health and illness and a French faux pas which I committed a long time ago with one of my pen pals. Thankfully, he was understanding and had a great sense of humor about the whole thing! He had told me that he had been under the weather, so I sent him a message, wanting to tell him that I hoped he was feeling better. And I wrote, mistakenly, “j’espère que tu sens mieux.” which means “I hope you smell better!” He wrote back, telling me that he was a very clean person and that he didn’t smell bad! Because in French, there are verbs, and then there are reflexive verbs. And sometimes, the same verb means something totally different in the reflexive form that it does in the non-reflexive form. So it is with “sentir” and “se sentir.” The former means “to smell”, but the latter means “to feel.” Therefore, I really should have written, “J’espère que tu te sens mieux.” I was rather embarrassed at the time, but thankfully he understood my rookie mistake and took the time to explain it to me. So thanks, Linda, for reminding me of that embarrassing moment! And now look what I’ve done, I’ve shared my faux pas with tout le monde.
And with that, I think, “c’en est fait de ce post.” That is, this post is irreversibly finished, done for, done in, and nothing more can be done for it. At least, I *think* that’s what it means! If not, perhaps someone will correct me, and je rougirai; je me sentirai vraiment stupide…et ça, c’est la vie!
Until next time, chers lecteurs!