I already spoke about "la rentrée" (the come-back) in this article
, but I was mainly focusing on the litterary aspect of it (this year again, 732 new books went out in the stores. I'm not kidding.). This time, as it is "rentrée" time, I would like to tell more about the school part.
For those who are lazy to read my previous article, the concept of "rentrée" is everybody is coming back from summer holidays at the beginning of September. The summer holidays are generally lasting 2 months, from July 1st, and are a kind of French tradition in the school calendar, along with the 2-weeks holidays every 6 or 7 weeks . Let me explain: French students are not more lazy than other guys in Europe. When compulsory, free and republican (not religious) school was created in France in the XIXth century by a French deputy called Jules Ferry
, the French government had to take into consideration the fact that most of the French were agriculturers, and they were using their kids as workforce to run the farms efficiently (feeding animals, seizing fruits, etc...). Another aspect of Western agriculture is that is it based on wheat, which has to be harvested at the beginning of July. The harvest by hand required then at lot of workforce, and kids were welcome in the fields at that time for a big help. Same thing for the seizing of grape, to make wine, which tradionally takes place at the beginning of September. This is why, in order to cope with the needs of the French countryside, kids were originally given 3 months of holidays, from mid-July (generally right before the 14th, the National Celebration Day) to mid-October. This lasted until the 1990's, when the summer holidays where reduced to 2 months and a half, and then to 2 months from 2000. Nowadays, kids are thankfully no more needed in the fields, but the beginning of the new school year remains September.
New school year means new school notebooks. And this year, the notebook makers TV ads are really good. I especially enjoyed the ads made by Clairefontaine, a very famous (and expensive) French brand of high-quality paper. The ads are here
. These two ads are depicting teenagers writing a love letter to each other - yeah, they are in love. They tell the text orally on very bad and slang French, but write the text down on their Clairefontaine notebooks in very formal French with a lot of style, sense of poetry and litterary reffinement. The spoken and written texts have exactly the same meanings, the only change is the language level. The ads ends on the motto of the company "you write better on Clairefontaine notebooks"
This is an excellent example on the different levels of French that can be used for speech. At school, I learnt (a long time ago) that there are 4 levels of French language: slang (argot), gross French (Français vulgaire), casual French (Français familier), formal French (Français soutenu). In everyday life, spoken French is a mix between gross and casual, with some expressions from slang. In litterature, most of the production is formal French, although it depends on the author's sense of style to use different level expressions. Anyway, here are the text from the ads, written one, spoken one, and translation.
Toi, qui par un sourire, a emprisonné mon coeur,
Sache que je ne serai plus jamais moi
Si tu t'en vas.
(Note: more text is actually written down the notebook, but it's not spoken and not recognizable)
You, who by a smile has imprisonned my heart,
Must know I'll never be myself (again)
If you leave (me).
I love you.
La première fois que j't'ai capté, t'as mis mon coeur à l'amende. Direct.
J'te l'dis cash: j'pars en vrille total si tu laches l'affaire.
Je voudrais que tu saches que j'ai perdu tout le temps que j'ai passé sans t'aimer.
Mon amour pour toi est né dans un regard,
Voudrais-tu qu'il grandisse dans un baiser?
Tu me hantes.
I would like you to know I've been loosing all the time I spent without loving you.
My love for you was born in a look,
Would you like it to grow in a kiss?
You are haunting me.
C'est fou comme c'était la loose dans ma vie avant que j'te kiffe.
La couleur de tes yeux m'a grave scotché la tête,
c'est pour çà que j'ai trop envie d'un grand kiss... avec la langue.
Chuis à bloc de toi.
Yeah, French lovers are not a myth...
Edit: Tried to embed the videos. Doesn't work properly. Sekeldem.