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Not Quite French

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Not Quite French

Not Quite French

Not Quite French

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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"Le jeu" is French for "the game" and in this jeu, puzzlemaster John Chaneski lets contestants play around with words that could be French too, as they all start with "le" or "la." Watch out for "la-goon!"


(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.


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