Délicieuse Agreement

Mary AnneC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Délicieuse Agreement

By virtue of "petits," "mollusques" is masculine plural.  But, "délicieux" seems to agree with "chair."  "Chair" seems to be part of an adjectival phrase.  So, this means "delicious tide" rather than "delicious mollusk."  I remember hearing that "délicieux" does not mean the same thing in English.  There was a news report when President Macron used it on an international trip and all the English speakers got the wrong idea.  Any comments?

Asked 2 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Mary Anne,

Tous ces petits mollusques à la chair délicieuse =All those  little mollusks with delicious flesh

Délicieuse agrees with chair ( flesh) which is feminine .

I am not sure what speech you are referring to but if you can find it I will be happy to look at it.

Bonne continuation!

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Macron described the Australian Prime Minister's wife as "delicious" - he meant "delightful".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yILxqnVWOXs

CécileKwiziq team member

Thanks Alan,

I think it's just a case that President Macron used the wrong English word, he probably meant to say 'delightful'.

You wouldn't use 'délicieux/se' for a person in French unless you wanted to convey something like -

delectable, good enough to eat, scrumptious

but it would be totally inappropriate on a diplomatic scene like this one.

In French he probably would have said -

charmante ( demeanour) or ravissante (looks) .

Hope this helps!

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

That's interesting, but the commentators at the time did assume that "délicieuse" would have been appropriate in French. If it's not, then I don't really understand why he would have chosen that word - wouldn't it also have seemed inappropriate to him? "Charming" would be the obvious choice, "ravishing" on the other hand would have been another faux pas.

CécileKwiziq team member

Well,  I don't agree, I think that 'délicieuse' would be wholly inappropriate in French,  a kind of 'Trumpism' if you like.

None of us were in M. Macron's head so commentators love these and make mountains out of mole hills. 

I don't think Macron is a particular great orator and it is very easy to use the wrong word in a foreign language even though his level is very high. 

It could have been a Freudian slip rather than a  'lapsus' but who knows?

Ravissant/e means lovely /entrancing rather than the connotations associated with the word 'ravishing' in English.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

But that's my point. "Ravishing" would be inappropriate in English, so, even if I think I know that "ravissante" is different in French, I would be too nervous to use it when the safer "charmante" is available.

 I think some commentators did suggest that perhaps he was trying to make a joke by referring to a similar remark by Trump earlier.

It was reported in Le Figaro as follows, but this doesn't really make it clear whether délicieuse would be acceptable in French, or just less unacceptable.

Le président de la République a provoqué une vague de réactions amusées sur le web après avoir remercié, en anglais dans le texte, le Premier ministre australien ainsi que sa «délicieuse» femme. Le mot «delicious» ayant une connotation sexuelle dans la langue de Shakespeare.

WordReference dictionary does give this example:

"C'est une jeune femme délicieuse" - "She is a charming [or delightful] young lady".

https://www.wordreference.com/fren/d%C3%A9licieuse

If you google "jeune femme délicieuse", you will find quite a few examples, however some of them are a bit dubious, let's say.

Probably we can conclude that it's safer, at least, to avoid using it to describe a person in French.

ThaliaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Alan, I found the same example on WordReference.com.  It lists the one of the definitions of "délicieux" as "charming, lovely" and gave the example, "Nous avons passé de délicieux moments ensemble" as "We had some lovely times together".  

Curious to know if this word is used in this context by anyone other than M. Macron? 

Délicieuse Agreement

By virtue of "petits," "mollusques" is masculine plural.  But, "délicieux" seems to agree with "chair."  "Chair" seems to be part of an adjectival phrase.  So, this means "delicious tide" rather than "delicious mollusk."  I remember hearing that "délicieux" does not mean the same thing in English.  There was a news report when President Macron used it on an international trip and all the English speakers got the wrong idea.  Any comments?

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