Soigne-toi! Soignez-vous bien!

SWAN-yuh twah! SWAN-yay VOO beeYAA!  Click below to hear this:  

Take care of yourself! Feel better! Get well soon!

This is for my friend Françoise, whose Belgian friends and family have been Facebooking her this message daily as she tries to throw off a case of bronchitis and laryngitis.

The bien is optional. You can add it or omit it from either version above. Se soigner means to take care of oneself, and that implies a positive action. If you live an unhealthy lifestyle, that’s not Il se soigne mal (eel suh SWAN-yuh MAHL, he takes bad care of himself). It’s Il ne se soigne pas (eeln suh SWAN-yuh PAH, he doesn’t take care of huimself).

As for the two versions, the first is for your good friends, little children, and your family members of any age. (That’s what Françoise’s sisters say to her.) The second is for people you don’t know very well, or who are your elders by a notable margin, or your boss.

The consonant combination gn in French makes the ny sound, as in the English word canyon. The i that precedes the gn belongs to the first syllable, and turns so (pronounced so) into soi (swah).

Françoise, soigne-toi! And all the rest of you, too….

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