Où est le loo?

Un loup

I don’t know if you have noticed, but it is now fairly common in today’s movies to show various characters sitting in the loo.

What was long considered to be a private affair, is now shown in CinemaScope to thousands of spectators. I realize that the film director (probably a cinema-verité lover) wants to show realism, but is this really necessary? Personally, when I am in the loo, I  prefer privacy; it is more conducive to the business at hand.

By the way, do not confuse “loo” with the French word “loup”. They are “homophones” and despite their different spelling, they are pronounced totally the same way. But the catch is that they have an entirely different meaning. To be specific, the French word “loup” (pronounced exactly as loo) means “wolf”, and it is widely used in many popular expressions such as:

 Avoir une faim de loup : To be as hungry as a wolf
Se jeter dans la gueule du loup : To jump into the wolf’s mouth
Crier au Loup: To cry Wolf
Hurler avec les loups: To howl with the wolves
Être connu comme le loup blanc : To be known as the white wolf
To be known by everybody.
L’homme est un loup pour l’homme : Man is a wolf to man
Faire entrer le loup dans la bergerie : To let the wolf in the sheepfold
Elle a vu le loup: She has seen the wolf (she lost her innocence)

So, when a UK citizen comes to France and asks “où est le loo?” (where is the loo/loup?)  he might get some rather surprising looks.

French (as well as English) is ripe with homophones and they can be rather confusing to a foreigner. But they are fun to play with, such as in the following sentence:

La mère du maire habite à côté de la mer. (The mother of the mayor lives next to the sea.)

La mer — the sea
Le maire/ la maire — the mayor
La mère — the mother

That is all for now…


 PS:  A reminder that you can read this text in French, German, Spanish and Russian by clicking on “Translate”.

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