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Has anyone any idea as to what french people are told 'nice' means.

 

I've just got a surprise when I was looking up  something else in my larousse dictionnaire and noticed that 'nice' also means what I would consider not very nice things, which are apparently 'nice'.

 

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It all depends on where they first come across the word. "nice" is in the 6eme vocab programme (yes, there really is one) and so most french people have been taught it at 11. It's usually in  sentences such as "my mum is nice" so the first translation they get is usually "gentil". I generally tell my pupils to try out "agréable" or "pleasant" as translations first.
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Here are the first two lines from my Larousse:

 

Nice (nais) adj Difficile, délicat, (finicky); dificile, exigeant, scrupuleux, méticuleux (punctilious)

 

 

And it is the same in my Consise Oxford too. And that is why I was wondering what was taught or what would be understood in France by 'nice'.

 

I cannot remember hearing this word used in this manner, or maybe I have and just though it was irony, rather than the real definition.

 

Both dictionaries go onto say all the pleasant things I believed 'nice' to mean.

 

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[quote]I have no idea as to why the french are taught, 'my tailor is rich'. It is just such an odd thing to 'learn'. How few men would use a tailor these days anyway.[/quote]

Any man who buys a clothes from a specialist menswear shop which is able to alter or fit the clothes uses a tailor - so most men at some point would use one. It does not have to be a shop that sells bespoke mens clothes that are made to measure.

For the meanings of nice - try here. http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=20001214

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The current Poche - HACHETTE & Oxford as it is shown on the front cover simply lists 'agreable'.

At school we lost marks if we ever used 'GET' or 'NICE' ( unless nice was used as 'that is a nice (menaing fine) debating point as both represented lazy writing.  I think 'nice' used in that way in the 20th let alone 21st century was archaic. 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Christine, ma chère, tes calembours, tes calembours ! You will be grounded if you continue to inflict on us severely and quickly deteriorating levels of Calembourness. I did not 'moufter' for le now classic 'on peut pas le blairer !', mais là, ça suffit, non, enfin, ça suffit, assez, basta, n'en jettez plus, on se rend ! Continue though.

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At school we lost marks if we ever used 'GET' or 'NICE'

Me too!  And it's stuck with "get" but I do tend to use "nice".  But now I come to think of it, a couple of non-native English speakers I work with have occasionally asked me what I mean by "nice" and it does make me think, I should be more precise, for it is a lazy word, isn't it?   A similar word is "done" and this was highlighted when I first started to study French at an advanced level.  All too easy (lazy again) to use "faire" but teachers demanded a more precise term.   No wonder French is still regarded as the language of diplomacy.  M

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Well, my main translation teacher at uni, a formidable Alsacien and passionate anglophile, used to throw a right wobbly or 2 whenever one of us impertinent lazy students would use 'get' too sloppily, invariably he'd say (and not always in jest):

'Mon pauvre Vraititi, mais vous n'avez que ce mot la à la bouche, c'est pas pensable ! Vous utilisez plus 'get' que y'a de bidets en France, bon sang !' if I had the misfortune to use 'get' twice in the same sentence, or, perish the thought, 3 strikes 'get' in the same sentence and you were out practically !

Many of my mates hated him and his dogmatic ways, but oddly enough, I could not get enough of him !  I loved it when he lambasted us into speaking 'proper' English, at the time it felt right,for me anyway, he certainly forced me to delve deep into the language ! Now, of course, nobody would turn up to his lectures. Apart from using 'americanisms' in the middle of a UK English sentence/thème (for which you were of course PROPERLY pilloried, almost banned from the Fac de Lettres bldgs until you repented in front of everybody, especially if you dared to argue the toss as I did !- I learnt to speak English with Americans, hence my frequent lapsing into American English at the time) and after 'get', his biggest bugbear was probably such adjectives as 'important' and 'cool'. He would slowly come up to you, hiding smthg behind his back while smiling at you Orange Mécanique-fashion, suddenly plonk this dusty dictionary in front of you -or usually his bible, the 'Oh-no-My-God-not-that' Thesaurus- and say 'maintenant M. Vraititi vous avez 20 minutes pour me trouver DIX synonymes de cet adjectif -et DIX antonymes for good measure'

Thank God, 'know what I mean' or 'actually' or the even more irritating 'like' at the end of every other sentence had not been 'invented' yet in the French unis. I wonder what he'd make of that now !

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or the even more irritating 'like' at the end of every other sentence

Sometimes in the afternoon, an American friend of mine asks her 14 and 15 year olds to tell her what they did in school today.  She says if they can tell her exactly what they did without once using "like" she'll give them $10.  Needless to say, she hasn't had to put her hand in her wallet once yet.  They don't restrict its use to the end, they often begin a sentence with it ("Like, who's looking after Poncho whilst you're on vacation?") or even throw it in midway ("And then he said, like, we go for coffee...")  It's quite bizarre and madly irritating.    M

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No, I am not a scholar Pol, did Latin at Lycée level only, long forgotten unfortunately. Shame really, it would have been nice to routinely swear in Latin I've always thought. My online signature is (but I'm sure that you'll have recognised it) my home 'town' motto (see below), Paris, and also, comment l'oublier, a line in the wonderful 'Les copains d'abord' by Brassens.

La devise de Paris est Fluctuat nec mergitur, soit « Il tangue mais ne coule pas » ; il s'agit de Scilicet, le navire représenté sur le blason de la ville et symbolisant l'ordre des marchands de l'eau commerçant sur la Seine. La patronne de la ville est sainte Geneviève, qui symbolise la résistance de la ville à Attila, au Ve siècle.

 

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I was also taught not to use nice or get if possible. Still do though occasionally. re "like" - I lay claim to this word, as an interjection, being originally part of the geordie language. eg " me mam won't let us go" - "is sh'gettin more stricter like?" "Like" meaning, is this what you mean? The current use of like means usually "said" eg "and she, like,yer jokin, no way!" Pat.
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