Tuesday, 27 October 2009

école or not école

école=school. Right? Apparently not.

I mean I still haven't gotten all the French educational jargon down. From petite section to CM2 to CP to sixième or terminal, who could understand it without actually having lived it?
So the other day as we were driving past a école in the neighborhood, I asked Jerome in French (something that is rare these days), "so is that suzanne's next école?" (since it's not the one she's in now). He said, no that it was an école like hers now. And I said but it's not a college (middle school); He said no, it's a groupe scolaire (which apparently is a école maternelle et école primaire under the same roof ie elementary school). So I asked where her next école was to which he replied that after her école it's not école anymore. Confused? Me too...

Apparently what they teach you in French class is wrong. école is only the beginning after which point it's not longer école which I thought was the general term for, um, school...

So how do you say school? Or is that just too American of me to try to simplify or even understand? After 12 years of living here, when you think you finally got it, you just don't.

(And have you ever noticed that many of the French words beginning with é have an s at the beginning in English? éponge (sponge), épargner (spare), éparpiller (scatter), école (school)....)


Owen said...

Keep working at it, after another 12 years year you'll have it down, after the kids are off to the "fac" or the "université" or any of a variety of "ecoles supérieurs"... bon courage...

Anonymous said...

Owen's right - ecole IS used after....so what 'school' is she going to next then? I'm confused too. #le sigh#

JChevais said...


école maternelle
école primaire
la fac
école supérieure (I thought the école supérieures or normale were after la fac).

I hadn't thought of it. It is confusing.

So the next school is collège. Right?

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