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Passarelles ep. 1, Quiz 70: faire le point

In just 28 words, I found so many phrases to dive into: “un peu”, “comme avec”, “le premier de l’an”, “profitent”, and “faire le point”. I was most surprised by “faire le point” as an idiom. What’s opening up for you with this moderately fast clip? Take a listen and fill in the blanks to…

This clip is from Passerelles Episode 1. Listen and fill in what you hear below. Read more and find a translation below. Listen to the full episode here.

11 seconds, 28 words

This audio sample and transcription is from Passerelles ep. 1. We do not own the content. Listen to the entire episode

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', 'année,certainsprofitentanniversairepointrésolutions.
peucommeavecpremier 'an,premierjour 'année,certainsprofitentleuranniversairepourfairepointetpourprendrebonnesrésolutions.

to take stock of

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The snippet in English

Find a translation of this snippet here, how much of this did you hear?

Un peu comme avec le premier de l’an, le premier jour de l’année, certains profitent de leur anniversaire pour faire le point et pour prendre de bonnes résolutions.

A bit like the first of the year, on the first day of the new year, some people take advantage of their birthday to take stock and make good resolutions.

The above translation from Deepl. Source

What does “un peu” mean?

“Un peu” is a French expression that translates to “a little” or “a bit” in English. It’s used to indicate a small quantity, degree, or extent of something.

Examples:

  1. “Je suis un peu fatigué.” (I’m a little tired.)
  2. “Peux-tu parler un peu plus fort?” (Can you speak a bit louder?)
  3. “Il mange un peu de chocolat chaque jour.” (He eats a little chocolate every day.)

Usage & Nuances:

  • “Un peu” is a versatile expression and can be used in a variety of contexts. However, the emphasis is always on the slightness or minimalism of the action, feeling, or quantity.
  • It can sometimes be used to downplay something, as in: “C’est un peu compliqué.” (It’s a bit complicated.)

Antonyms:

  • “Beaucoup” (a lot)
  • “Énormément” (enormously)

Cultural or Additional Notes: “Un peu” is a frequently used phrase in casual French conversations. For instance, when asked if they’d like more wine or food, it’s not uncommon for French speakers to reply with “Juste un peu,” meaning “Just a little.” This phrase is a staple in French language and culture, reflecting the subtle politeness and understatement often found in French communication.

What does “comme avec” mean?

The phrase “comme avec” translates to “as with” or “like with” in English. It’s a comparative structure that introduces a reference point or example to which something else is being compared.

Examples:

  1. “Comme avec la plupart des choses, la pratique est essentielle.” (As with most things, practice is essential.)
  2. “Il est doux avec moi, comme avec tous ses amis.” (He’s kind to me, just as he is with all his friends.)

Usage & Nuances:

  • “Comme avec” is used to draw a parallel or show similarities between two situations, items, or actions.
  • It is often used to provide context, explaining a situation by referencing a more familiar or universally understood one.

Cultural or Additional Notes:
The structure of “comme avec” is emblematic of the comparative structures that exist in many languages. In French, such comparisons are often used to clarify or elaborate on a point, making ideas more relatable or understandable by connecting them to known entities or situations.

Remember, however, that the context in which “comme avec” is used will determine the best English translation. In some contexts, “just as with” or “in the same way as with” might be more suitable translations.

What does “le premier de l’an” mean?

“Le Premier de l’An” translates to “The first of the year” in English, referring specifically to January 1st, or New Year’s Day. It’s the first day of the Gregorian calendar and is celebrated as the beginning of a new year.

Examples:

  1. “Nous fêtons toujours le Premier de l’An en famille.” (We always celebrate New Year’s Day with family.)
  2. “La ville organise des feux d’artifice le Premier de l’An.” (The city organizes fireworks on New Year’s Day.)

When to Use: Use “le Premier de l’An” when you’re referring to the specific day of January 1st or events and traditions associated with New Year’s Day.

When Not to Use/Antonyms: If you are talking about New Year’s Eve (December 31st), the appropriate term would be “la Saint-Sylvestre” or “le réveillon du Nouvel An”.

Related Phrases:

  1. “Bonne année !” (Happy New Year!)
  2. “Les résolutions du Nouvel An” (New Year’s resolutions)

Cultural Notes: In France, “le Premier de l’An” is a public holiday and is typically celebrated with various festivities. Traditionally, people exchange wishes and sometimes gifts with loved ones, often using the phrase “Meilleurs vœux” (Best wishes). Many also attend special church services. Furthermore, it’s common for people to use this day as a moment of reflection, setting goals or “résolutions” for the year ahead.

While New Year’s Eve (“la Saint-Sylvestre”) is often celebrated with parties, dinners, and, in some places, public events and fireworks, “le Premier de l’An” tends to be a quieter day of recovery, relaxation, and spending time with family.

In Summary: “Le Premier de l’An” denotes January 1st, New Year’s Day, in the Gregorian calendar. It’s a significant day in French culture, marked by celebrations, well-wishing, and sometimes religious observance. It signifies new beginnings and is a time for reflection and setting intentions for the year to come.

What does “profitent” mean?

The verb “profiter” in French means “to benefit” or “to take advantage of” in English. Depending on the context, it can refer to deriving a benefit from something or enjoying something.

The form “profitent” is the third person plural present tense conjugation of “profiter,” meaning “they benefit” or “they take advantage of.”

Examples:

  1. “Ils profitent du beau temps pour se promener au parc.” (They are taking advantage of the good weather to walk in the park.)
  2. “Les étudiants profitent de la bibliothèque pour étudier.” (The students benefit from the library to study.)

When to Use: Use “profiter” when you want to convey the idea of benefiting from, enjoying, or taking advantage of a particular situation, resource, or opportunity.

When Not to Use/Antonyms: If you want to express the idea of suffering a disadvantage or missing out, “profiter” wouldn’t be the right verb. In such cases, verbs like “souffrir” (to suffer) or “manquer” (to miss out on) would be more appropriate.

Related Phrases:

  1. “Profiter de l’occasion” (Seize the opportunity)
  2. “Profiter de la vie” (Enjoy life)

Cultural Notes: “Profiter” is a versatile verb in the French language and is used in various contexts. For example, “profiter de la vie” is a common French philosophy urging individuals to enjoy and make the most of life’s moments.

In Summary: “Profiter” means to benefit or to take advantage of in English, and “profitent” is its third person plural present tense form. It’s used to highlight the act of benefiting from or making the most of a situation, resource, or opportunity. It encapsulates the idea of seizing opportunities and enjoying the present.

What does “faire le point” mean?

Basic Meaning: The French phrase “faire le point” can be translated to “to take stock” or “to assess” in English. It’s often used to indicate a pause to evaluate a situation, reassess one’s position, or reflect upon certain matters before proceeding.

Examples:

  • “Avant de continuer le projet, nous devons faire le point sur nos progrès actuels.” (Before continuing with the project, we need to take stock of our current progress.)
  • “Après cette dispute, il est temps de faire le point sur notre relation.” (After this argument, it’s time to assess our relationship.)

When to Use: Use “faire le point” when you want to convey the idea of evaluating, reassessing, or reflecting upon a situation or matter. It can be applied in both personal and professional contexts.

When Not to Use/Antonyms: If you’re suggesting to act without reflection or deliberation, or to continue without taking a pause, then “faire le point” isn’t the right phrase. Phrases like “continuer sans hésiter” (to continue without hesitation) would be more fitting in such contexts.

Related Phrases:

  • “Faire le bilan” (To take/make an assessment)
  • “Évaluer la situation” (Assess the situation)

The phrase “faire le point” is neutral in its basic meaning; however, the context in which it’s used can tilt its connotation towards the positive, neutral, or negative.

Negative Contexts: Yes, “faire le point” can be used in negative situations, as you described:

  • If a company is dissatisfied with a service provider, they might say, “Nous devons faire le point sur notre collaboration avec cette entreprise.” (We need to reassess our collaboration with this company.)
  • In a romantic relationship that’s going through challenges, one partner might suggest, “Il faut que nous fassions le point sur notre relation.” (We need to take stock of our relationship.)
  • A boss discussing an employee’s performance might mention, “Nous devons faire le point sur tes contributions récentes.” (We need to review your recent contributions.)

In these cases, the phrase suggests an evaluation, potentially leading to a change or redefinition of the ongoing situation, relationship, or strategy.

However, it’s essential to note: While “faire le point” can indeed be used in situations where there’s dissatisfaction or a problem, it doesn’t inherently carry a negative connotation. It signifies a pause for evaluation, which can also be used constructively. For instance, a team might “faire le point” halfway through a project to ensure they’re on track, even if everything is going well.

  • “Avant de nous lancer dans la prochaine phase, prenons un moment pour faire le point sur tout ce que nous avons accompli jusqu’à présent et célébrer nos succès.” (Before we dive into the next phase, let’s take a moment to take stock of everything we’ve achieved so far and celebrate our successes.)

Cultural Notes: The concept of “faire le point” resonates with the French value of reflection and measured consideration. Whether in professional environments, such as during meetings or project stages, or in personal introspection, taking a moment

What is opening up for you?

Comment below with the words you thought you heard, where you struggled, where you surprised yourself, or what you thought about this clip. Every little bit inspires other learners, thank you for being that inspiration to others on their French fluency journey!

In just 28 words, I found so many phrases to dive into: “un peu”, “comme avec”, “le premier de l’an”, “profitent”, and “faire le point”. I was most surprised by “faire le point” as an idiom. What’s opening up for you with this moderately fast clip? Take a listen and fill in the blanks to…

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