Not Quite French

Jun 4, 2012
Originally published on September 4, 2014 1:32 pm
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(French spoken)


WILL HINES: Bientot.

EISENBERG: It's pretty good French, right?

HINES: Not really. So it is? I don't know.

EISENBERG: Oh right, OK. I'll go back to English and we'll describe why I just did that. But that was amazing, you'll see. Hi Rachel.


EISENBERG: Welcome Rachel Falk. Hey, you're a volunteer guide at the Natural History Museum?

FALK: Yes, I am.

EISENBERG: That's so exciting.

FALK: Yes, it is cool.

EISENBERG: What room are you in?

FALK: I cover the highlights of the museum, so I -


JOHN CHANESKI: So the dinosaurs?

FALK: Best of 'em.

CHANESKI: The dinosaur.

EISENBERG: OK. Lindsay Haddix, everybody.



EISENBERG: You work for the Department of Housing Preservation?

HADDIX: That's correct.

EISENBERG: That's affordable housing?

HADDIX: Yeah, that's right.

EISENBERG: You're my hero. Thank you.

HADDIX: I'm trying. I'm trying.

EISENBERG: Yeah, well done.


EISENBERG: This is a game called Not Quite French, kind of like what I was speaking at the top of the show. I know a little bit of French, 'cause of course I grew up in Canada, which is not a lot as you can tell, but just enough to teach.


EISENBERG: So John, why don't you tell us about this fabulous game?

CHANESKI: Well in this game we're looking for English words that could be mistaken for French words because they begin with either the letters L-E or L-A. The trick is, when you remove the first two letters of the word, it leaves another English word with a totally different meaning. OK? For example, here's a clue. It's not a French man who's about to get married, it's the space you want a lot of when you're in a plane or car. The answer is legroom.

EISENBERG: Right. Legroom looks like le groom.

FALK: Oh dear.



FALK: This is going to be ugly, but can throw it together.

EISENBERG: This is going to be le tough.

HADDIX: I need a piece of paper and pen. This is - oh good grief.

EISENBERG: It's going to be le crazy.

CHANESKI: Remember these are English words that begin with L-E or L-A, when you drop the first two letters they form a different word. Here we go. It's not a French thug or bully, it's a small body of water like the kind on Gilligan's Island.

Yes, Rachel.

FALK: Lagoon.

CHANESKI: Lagoon is right.




FALK: I got one point.

CHANESKI: Off to a good start.

FALK: One point. All right. At least I have one point, yay.

CHANESKI: It's not found in a French urn, it's what you'd use to walk your dog.



FALK: Leash?

CHANESKI: Leash or le ash. Oui oui.

HINES: Le ash.


CHANESKI: It's not a square in a French game of Monopoly, it's a popular children's building toy.


FALK: Lego.

CHANESKI: Lego or le go, right.


EISENBERG: So you guys are catching on. I saw that now it's all confidence in the eye, started off you're like, oh no and now le great.


CHANESKI: It's not a French metal, it's a language you should know if you're going to be the Pope.


HADDIX: Latin.

CHANESKI: Latin or la tin, yes.


CHANESKI: It's not where French men watch television, it's when you're carrying something heavy or burdensome.

EISENBERG: Mmm, we are weighed down by this.

CHANESKI: Perhaps French teenagers play Xbox there.

EISENBERG: And French foxes hang out there.

CHANESKI: Lindsay.

HADDIX: La den.

CHANESKI: La den or laden, yes.



It's not what the French call the lead singer of The Police, it's how you'd describe something that has existed for a long time. Lindsay.

HADDIX: La Sting or lasting.

CHANESKI: Lasting or la string, thank you.


CHANESKI: It's not a French term for the back of the neck, it's a Native American tribe.

FALK: Lenape.

CHANESKI: Lenape or le nape, very good, Rachel.


CHANESKI: That's our game and Rachel takes it.

EISENBERG: Rachel, congratulations.


EISENBERG: Lindsay, excellent job, that was phenomenal. We'll see you Rachel for our final round. Another hand for those two great contestants.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.