J is for Jour

Jour means day in French.


I took French from 7th to 12th grade. My high school French teacher was demanding. She was so demanding that although I was her assistant for my elective as an upperclassman, and she was one of the great mentors of my life, I consistently earned low marks in her class. (Well, low for me.) We had daily verb quizzes. We wrote papers. We read French classics.

Unfortunately, for two years in high school, I had French right after lunch, and much of my French class memory involves Madame saying, “Jolene, levez la tete.” She said my name like Zho-lynn which was tres adorable. She meant for me to raise my head, but my rough translation would be, “Stop zoning out to the lullaby that is my sing-song voice before you drool onto your notes.”

Madame was such a demanding teacher that when I took my placement test in college, I nearly tested out of my minor. Meaning, to earn my French minor, I only had to take six hours (two classes) of French. She was that good.

I took French for seven semesters in college. I wrote more papers, I read more classics, I studied French history, I went to Quebec for immersion.

I was twenty-seven years old and helping my neighbor’s daughter with compound words in English when I realized, for the first time that bonjour literally translated into good day.

bon = good
jour = day

Le duh.

Have you ever been late to discover the obvious?

This post is part of LindaGHill’s SoCS as well as the A-Z Challenge

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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51 Responses to J is for Jour

  1. LindaGHill says:

    All the time. But bonjour wasn’t one of those times. 😛
    You must have found Quebec French quite different than what you learned in school. I’d love to hear about your experiences there. Did you go to Quebec City?

    Liked by 1 person

    • LindaGHill says:

      Hey, maybe that could be your “Q” post. 🙂


    • It was different, but no too different, and we were prepared for the differences. I desperately wanted to go to France, but it was not affordable to me. I must say, I still desperately want to go to France, but it’s much more likely I will return to la ville de Quebec with The Mister before we ever make it to France. He’s almost finished with the French required for his BA.


  2. Dan Antion says:

    That’s funny, but you asked an embarrassing question. I shared the most embarrassing example in a very early rant on my blog. I’ll stick the link here, but I won’t make you read it. When I was in my early 30s, while watching Winnie the Pooh with my wife and daughter, I happily announced that “Kenga and Roo are kangaroos” – yeah, the word play of their names had just settled in my brain. bonjour! http://nofacilities.com/2012/05/06/is-anything-obvious/

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    I’m always late to discover the obvious. But not as late as my husband…

    I majored in French in college (well, double majored in French and Natural Science). But as I recently discovered, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sherry says:

    I’m still reveling in the admiration that someone went to a high school that taught french from 7th through 12th grade. We had spanish, I think for only 2 years…Which is why I still think of myself now as “catching up”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had six weeks of Spanish and a roommate who spoke Spanish as a first language, and I speak and understand far more Spanish that my wee ones do — and they had Spanish for 4 & 5 years in Georgia. They do perfectly trill their R’s tho.
      Sassy will start Spanish again next year. She will have Spanish from 7th-12th grade, too.


  5. hollie says:

    I am late to discover the obvious all the time. I have to make everything infinitely more difficult, I always have. I wish I could have studied French. We had the choice between Spanish and German and I chose Spanish. I loved my Spanish teacher, I still keep in touch with her. She would throw things from her desk at the students who were nodding off. I tested out in college as well and so I jumped to Spanish Three, and then if I passed with a B or higher (which I did) they added the credits for One and Two and the lab for $75 fee. I thought that was a mistake, but I was not going to complain about getting 10 credit hours for having taken one course!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t that awesome? Your Spanish teacher must have also been fabulous!
      You know, the teaching major was so intense, if I’d needed to earn all those French credits, I would have been in school for five years! As it was I took 18hr overloads and took one summer class! When I graduated, I was like 6 or 8 credits shy of a psych minor, too! lol
      Madame passed away when I was a young adult. She’d had many cancer battles. I think it’s great that you still have your Spanish teacher. I’ll envy you that, as I would love to take my girls to meet Madame.
      Sassy wanted to take French, but I convinced her Spanish would be much more useful, and potentially profitable later.
      Besides, this way, I expect by the time she graduates, we’ll each be proficient in BOTH languages 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • hollie says:

        I’d love to learn another language to the point where I could converse easily in it. Spanish I can read ok, but I’ve lost much of the knowledge since Spanish 3 in college was the last course I took. I agree about the secondary Ed program it is like they want you to become a professional student! I sort of did because I dropped the Ed part when I was almost done and ended up going for my Masters. I completed two certificate programs and was just shy of the two minors thanks to all of the required courses! One of these days I’ll get the Rosetta Stone or something and fully commit to becoming bilingual.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this, of course, Jolene or Joey! Yes, bonjour means Good Day. Good Morning is great too and in English we can go on with Good Afternoon, Good Evening and Good Night. In French you can also use Bon après-midi (after noon), Bonsoir and Bonne Nuit.
    So for once, we’ve got the perfect equivalents in both languages. I like that our posts today blend our two native languages. Bon week-end.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Prajakta says:

    Ha ha ha 😛 Even I knew that… even though that is all I know as far as French goes. And I learnt that when I was fourteen. Yay! But wow… you really have breathed and lived the culture. That’s awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Have been late many times to understand the obvious but alas I know nothing about French:(

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Norm 2.0 says:

    The French we speak here is not that different from France but pronunciation and vocabulary can throw some folks off. Also in Quebec we have a tendency to invent new French words, whereas in France they’ll just use the English word. Your “bon weekend” is a good example. Here we say “bonne fin-de-semaine” instead.
    “Email” is another one. My customers in France and Switzerland will say “envoyer-moi un email”, but French Canadians will use “courriel” which comes from courrier éléctronique (electronic mail) If I forget and use “courriel” with my European contacts, it takes them a minute to figure out what I just said 🙂
    I’d still love to master Spanish one day as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ha Ha! I know i am a bit slow to see the obvious sometimes! Still I wouldn’t worry too much. Anyone who can read French Classics is no dunce in my book, especially if French is not that native language”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Probably, the only French word that I know till date. Although, I did watch some French movies, but I was more focused on reading the English subtitles. 🙂 Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I cringed the other day when I heard somebody order “Harry-cots Verts”. Five years of French class reared its head angrily. I took Mandarin lessons for a year in a vain attempt to better communicate with Taiwanese friends. Whenever I would be struggling to find the word, the dang French word would pop into my brain. Merde!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is indeed a problem! I forget what my husband said that offended my French ear, but boy was it a doozy…lemme think for a minute…Gosh I can’t remember. His French is pretty bad, but that’s because he only speaks it when required in class, and when I ask him questions in French he usually just says, “Que?” because he’s a smart alec — his Spanish is no better than que, either. lol!
      Mandarin, whoa! My Mandarin is limited to Foon Ying, our local Chinois 😉


      • Was it food-related? Often French atrocities are committed around that subject. Whenever you think of it, Joey, pop over and let me know. Vichyssoise?


        • I found it — I was reminding him one always does the cooking. “Je fais la cuisine!” I said. but then he caught me with a new verb I didn’t know, “the netty toyay.”
          Oui, vraiment, il a dit “the netty toyay.”
          Je nettoierai sa bouche. tsk.


          Liked by 1 person

  13. I have always wanted to learn another language. My son took French for two years in high school.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. kaykendalltx says:

    Yes, I’ve had a few JOURs in my life, learning the obvious way too late. The first one was about Manhattan.

    I grew up in Kansas, always wanting to escape to see the bigger, bolder world. I read often about the delights of Manhattan. That puzzled me. Manhattan was in Kansas, in another part of my state. I had not been there but simply could not understand how it could be as tantalizing as many claimed it was.

    My parents were good friends with an urbane couple who subscribed to The New Yorker. I would thumb through those magazines when I went to their home. Manhattan was written about all the time.

    I was about 18 years old when it hit me. Manhattan was a part of New York City.

    Well, no wonder it was exciting! Man oh man, did I feel provincial. And I was not un-learned. I read books like this one for fun–How France Goes, which explored the post-WWII politics of that nation. I could tell you about all the kings and queens of Great Britain. But poor little Manhattan, home of Kansas State University, was just too stuck in my mind to get dislodged easily.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hah! I understand completely 🙂 For years and years of my childhood, I thought my uncle lived near a place called Yonder! (And I’ve got one more for R) Thanks for sharin!


  15. herheadache says:

    I wish I were better with French. I am proud that Canada has Quebec and got my guide dog there. I tried in school, did okay, but never great and I couldn’t keep it up.
    I love the English language and words, but they are all about as much as I can take in. I would love to speak languages.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Mee Magnum says:

    ALL the time!! LOL

    –Mee (The Chinese Quest)


  17. markbialczak says:

    Great post de jour, Joey! Oo-la-la! There’s my French for you. 🙂 Spanish in high school and college. Muy bien gracies, y tu?


  18. Kern Windwraith says:

    Delightful post–I love your sense of whimsy. And, yes, I’m frequently late to discover the obvious, but apparently too tired to think of any examples even though it’s not even 9 p.m. yet. As you might say: Le Sigh. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. DanicaPiche says:

    Love Le Duh. Haha. May have to quote you sometime.

    Liked by 1 person

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