Words, words and more words. This is what may well come to mind when thinking of communication. Oh wait a bit, there’s that expression “actions speak louder than words”. This is what brings to mind the strong cultural inclusion of gestures, in the abundantly expressive language that only the French themselves have true command of. Don’t we all find ourselves enthralled at the endless variety of facial nuances, hand gestures and dare to stop me attitude which leads to the French again being celebrated as the nation who knows just how to do things their way.
Se serrer la main (shake hands)
Well, as we know, hands are shaken in many countries as a form of greeting, and France does this too in their very own style. The handshake is used to greet a person for the first time and particularly between business associates. You will simply have to learn French to know how to do the French handshake. Don’t risk your life by delivering one of those sweaty, limp pretences for a handshake. Non, non! Ça ne va pas du tout! (No, no! That won’t do at all). The French handshake is quick and lightly firm. Should the hands be full or not presentable, how interesting is it to know that you can offer or receive a friendly elbow (un coude) or a finger (un doigt) instead. How Frrrrench is this? That French course is beckoning!
Du fric (it’s expensive)
From shaking hands to the mention of money. Don’t we all want it, wish we had more of it, sometimes hate it when it escapes us, and oh yes, talk about it. Well, it is time to learn French just a little more with this informal, familiar usage. The French word le fric (dough, money) is expressed with a well known gesture: fold the hand and let the thumb touch and rub the fingers to indicate that something is expensive, or that money is required. It’s so nice and easy to say du fric, which can also be expressed in this way: c’est pas donné (it’s hardly what you’d call cheap).
Mon oeil (my eye)(my foot)
We can all relate to the strong disbelief expressed by the English words “my foot” which is what this expression means. This gesture is simple to do: use the index finger to pull down the skin under your eye. Easy, right? So there, learn French right here while reading this blog. Another way to say this informally in English is, “no way(s)”. Tell me now, am I going to use this gesture with the words mon oeil next time you say, “I am enrolling for that French course”?
Well there is no way I can even touch on all the French gestures in one short blog, so let’s learn French another time remembering that these gestures can be accompanied by the words or expressed non-verbally. Be sure then to use them parfaitement (perfectly) so as not to be misunderstood!