Newsletter: 11 February 2011

Are you a morning, daytime, evening or night person? What sort of bio-rhythm do you have? Are you so full of pep and energy that you wake up and manage all day long without a sigh or yawn? Or are you a time taking breakfast-in-bed person who then can stay up into the wee hours of the night?

There’s an expression in English that says “The early bird catches the worm.” The same thought or idea exists in French in these words:

“Le monde appartient à ceux qui se lèvent tôt.”

I don’t see any worms or birds in that one, but no matter: until the opening of the tunnel under the “English Channel” as the English call it and the “Manche” as the French do, the French and the English had been separated by that body of water. This, as you know,  hasn’t prevented mutual attraction, jealousy, respect nor conflict over the years. Not to mention migration!

Or … the French-American trans-Atlantic connections!

So, you ask, what do “reports and delays” have to do with all this? The answer lies in the word which shapes our lives: time. And the inter-human relationships called meetings, dates, and appointments!

The English word “delay” means “being late, or being put off until later” and is most often used as a verb like this:
“The flight to Chicago is delayed. EDT is now 1:58.”

The French word “délai” means a time frame or a period of time and can be used in the singular or in the plural:

Il faudrait compter sur un délai de 10 jours.”
“Les délais de livraison sont indéterminés.”

Put those on hold for a moment while we think of the French verb “reporter”:  this verb can generally be translated into English as “to postpone” or “to put off.” In English, the identically spelled verb  “to report” might designate signaling something, usually negative, suspicious or illegal to an authority.

Beware of and be wary of these look-alikes.These sentences, written with English words by native French speakers could confuse or even upset you:

“I must report the date.”
“Could we report our appointment?”
“Excuse me for reporting this.
“It’s only a delay.”

All of these really intend to mean “temporary cancellation.” What might be called a “rain check.”

“Please forgive me … but I’ve had a change in schedule and need to postpone the meeting we planned for next Tuesday. Could we plan it for the following week? Just let me know.”

The early bird may indeed catch the worm … but only if the weather’s right!

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