Friday’s French – blocage

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I’m introducing an Australian acquaintance to Jean Michel. “Bonjour”,  she says, then turning to me, somewhat flustered, “I’m tongue-tied. How do I say that in French?”

“Langue coupée”, I say rather doubtfully. “No, I know, je suis bloquée, j’ai un blocage.” “Ah, then it doesn’t mean the same as the English word ‘blockage'”, she laughs.

Definitely not!

Bloquer et blocage are actually used quite a lot in French and are often rather annoying to translate into English.

La porte est bloquée : I can’t get the door open.

Il s’est garé trop près, il a complètement bloqué la sortie : he parked too close to me and stopped me getting out.

Bloquer la vis: turn the screw until it won’t go any further.

Il faut bloquer la porte avec une chaise : you have to keep the door open with a chair.

So how do you say “blockage” in French? In the medical sense, it’s obstruction except when it’s intestinal and then it’s occlusion.

You can sometimes use boucher as well e.g. l’évier est bouché: the drain’s blocked.

I should also mention that people are often intimidated about speaking French in front of me, but they shouldn’t be. I’m always so grateful that they can talk to Jean Michel who is a victim of the atrocious French language teaching system and has a poor memory for vocabulary. Remember – I was once a beginner too!

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4 Responses to Friday’s French – blocage

  1. Gigi says:

    Aahh ! A very handy lesson here, thanks Rosemary 🙂 Knowing how to express verbally… umm …..digestive problems in a foreign country is soooo much better than having to ‘act out’ your woes to the pharmacy assistant , in front of the local crowd…oh dear…..

  2. Pingback: Friday’s French – offrir | Aussie in France

  3. Clive Jones says:

    Une autre signification pour le terme ‘blocage’, c’est la fixation de roue pour velo de course. Traduction anglaise: ‘quick release’. (Moi, je roule dans la Manche et en Angleterre aussi.) Merci pour le besu site web.

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