September 9th, 2009

Bel ami

I have a brief query for those who might know colloquial French a little better than I do; mine's rusty sometimes. Does the phrase or term of address "bel ami" hold any meaning beyond the literal "beautiful friend"? See Maupassant's novel Bel-Ami, which I haven't read, but which some stuff online has indicated has led to some kind of association between the phrase and "lady killer." Is that totally erroneous? I also noticed there's a French gay adult film company that goes by that name; is there a queer connotation? Anyway... yes. Just curious.
  • pauamma

"flitting around like a gay homosexual"?

I came around that phrase in a short story published in 1968, and I'm curious about the exact meaning of "gay" in that context (or at that time). It looks like it doesn't mean homosexual or male homosexual (the current meaning), and I have no way to figure out which of the possible other meanings below is correct (or if any is)
- "male", when used as a qualifier for "homosexual" (but we already know the character this is applied to is a man).
- some other qualifier gthat would make sense applied to "homosexual" - eg, maybe the character acted like a flaming queen - but I'm not sure which.
- "merry" (the older meaning), but that sounds unlikely in that context.

Any clue? Or timeline of the shift in meaning of the word "gay"?
oar asterisk

slang question

After explaining a US military expression to my Taiwanese colleagues, mentioning it on my LJ and being asked about it by a Dutch friend, I've now gotten curious.

The US military (and maybe others) have a few expressions based on the International Radio Alphabet. I know of two: when something is all fouled up, they call it a "charlie fox" (euphemism for cluster fuck, because C = charlie and F = foxtrot in the radio alphabet). When a system or organization has gone dead it's "tango uniform" (tits up => TU => tango uniform).

Are there other similar expressions?

What about other similarly convoluted slang? The one that comes to mind is Cockney rhyming slag, which is much more extensive, e.g. apples => apples & pears => stairs, trouble => trouble & strife => wife, dead horse => tomato sauce => ketchup. (I heard that last in Australia, actually.)
Annoying Virgin

Re-learning French

Hello out there!

I've recently decided to re-learn French, mainly as a surprise to my father. I haven't studied the language in over five years, and I can't find any good text/workbooks to use. I've decided I want to start fresh, so basic beginner books would be best. Any ideas?

Many thank yous in advance!
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