Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm a Natural

After you've been learning a language for a while you start to get comfortable with the structure, and then you start to play with it. You take verbs and try to turn them into nouns, nouns into adjectives, and so on. This is where I get into trouble. It's not that the words I make up aren't actual French words, they just don't mean what I intend them to mean.

On Monday we were talking about Facebook and other social networking sites hiring employees away from Google, and I tried to turn newly-learned verb "débaucher" (to hire away, to poach) into the noun "la débauche" to mean "the act of hiring away from someone." All well and good, except "la débauche" actually means "debauchery." And today I coined "le souteneur" from the verb "soutenir" (to support) intending to say "someone who supports a person or a cause." This is also a real word, but unfortunately it means "pimp."

In other words, I'm very likely to accidentally turn a run-of-the-mill economics paper into Conakry's submission for the Trafficking in Persons Report. Awesome.


  1. ass you cannes imagine, frank-speaking people will make cents of your words with small effort.

  2. Probably, but it's still a pretty awkward subject to accidentally bring up at embassy cocktail parties.