200 EFFECTIFS SERAIENT LICENCIÉS
duh sah ay-feck-teef sray lee-sah-seeYAY. Click below to hear this!
200 EMPLOYEES TO BE LAID OFF
How now? It looks more like 200 effectives would be licensed. Effective whats? If what? Licensed for what?
This is an imaginary headline, based on a real piece of news in the Chicago area today: Sears is laying off some 200 employees from KMart. But this isn’t about the layoffs, it’s about the language.
Back to the beginning, folks. Un effectif is an employee, but instead of counting heads, they are counting job-hours. Un effectif is actually the equivalent of one full-time position, so these are actually positions that are being eliminated.
Seraient, the conditional of the verb être, is the mood used when you want to assert something but don’t have a source for the information, or when you information has not been confirmed. Normally, the conditional lends itself to “if-then” statements: the “if” is the condition upon which the “then” rests. The condition is implied here: if my sources are correct, then this statement will be true.
And licencié doesn’t mean you get a license, whether it’s for fishing or for driving a semi. It’s one of many words used in French that mean laid off or fired.
On the other hand, J’ai ma licence means I have a graduate degree, the approximate equivalent of a Master’s degree from an American university.
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