Thursday, 22 January 2009

Des Chiffres et Des Lettres.

Countdown was the first programme to be seen on Channel Four way back in 1982. If you think that is a long time then compare it to the original French version that has been running since 1965. The French version is called Des Chiffres et Des Lettres. You can guess the words for letters and because of the French links with English there are thousands of other French words that you can guess. You may not know that chiffre means "digit" or "number" but you could have guessed if you know what they do on Countdown.

So you can have un chiffre which means "a number" but so too does un nombre . When do you use one and when do you use the other? There are so many ways that we can say the word number, so the best answer is to go and live in France and experience these words. This is what a language is all about. If this is not an option then take a look in a dictionary and you will see dozens of translations for number depending on what you want to say.

We are back to learning peu à peu. If you want to write out a number in figures then you want to write un nombre en chiffres. Un nombre de six chiffres is "a six-figure number". You could also guess the translation of les chiffres officiels and les chiffres de chômage. We are also back to learning the things that mean something to you. If you are not going to speak about the unemployment figures then it is not something that you need to learn. Go and find the words that mean something to you.

If you are wondering what "countdown" is in French it is compter à rebours which also means "to count backwards", but you remember the translation for the programme Countdown - Des Chiffres et Des Lettres.

A bientôt

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