L’été bat son plein.
lay-tay bah saw PLAA. Click below to hear this.
Summer is at its height.
I’ve been hearing this for weeks now, in two languages. Summer is at its height. The festival is in full swing. L’été, la fête, bat son plein.
Can it really mean what it looks like? Summer is beating its full. Well, we know there is no such thing in English as a full, although we are pleased to be able to eat our fill. And, etymologically speaking, fill and full are related, through their German origins.
In French, we can turn an adjective into a noun simply by putting an article before it. In English, the red car becomes the red one; we have to repeat the noun in some form. In French, it’s simply la voiture rouge and la rouge.
So that sort of explains the grammar: plein, the adjective, has become plein, the noun. Fine. But does summer beat? Do festivals beat?
They do. The relentless battering of the sun. The driving thud of summer hail. The pounding of rain. More sun, pulsating in your eyes. Ocean waves crashing endlessly on the shore. Tiny mosquito wings, beating at over 500 times per second. It all goes at full speed, and that intensity is why we love, or hate, summer so much.