Attention au décalage horaire.

Attention au décalage horaire.

aa-tah-seeYAW oh day-kah-lah zhoh-RARE. Click below to hear this.

Watch out for the time change.

Attention! is very useful spoken all by itself, especially in a loud and panicky voice when someone is about to step into traffic.

But it also has more sedate uses. It can mean watch out, be careful, pay attention, or even don’t forget. When you say Attention au décalage horaire, you are actually reminding someone to take the time change into account.
Décaler means to shift position, that is, one thing shifts its position in relation to another. The thing shifting can be anything from tectonic plates on the ocean floor to time zones.

Time zones have always been a mystery to me, especially when you throw the International Date Line into the mix. Why does the French language choose le décalage to describe the time shift? Is it really the time that is changing, or is it a person who is shifting his or her position in relation to the sun by crossing an imaginary line?

Methinks there is a décalage between certain realities and my understanding of them. I suppose this is just ordinary physics, but for me the décalage horaire phenomenon trespasses in the realm of poetry.

In any case, if you don’t want to miss breakfast, attention au décalage horaire.

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