On va recauser de ça.

On va recauser de ça.

aw vah ruh-koh-zaid SAH. Click below to hear this.*

We’ll chat about that again.

How is it that causer can have acquired two such different meanings as to cause and to chat?

The connection is interesting, and obvious once you think about it for a moment. The Latin word causa means a cause or a trial. And cause has a double meaning, too: the reason why something. happens, and the issue you care about enough to engage in an argument.

To have a trial, you need an argument. To have an argument, you need issues or reasons to get upset. The argument involves talking–and so does the trial. You talk it out, and someone helps to bring about a decision.

So, while causer looks like and can mean to cause, in this expression it means to chat. What makes it all the more intriguing is that an argument (going back to the legal angle) is contentious, a chat is friendly and casual.

Of course, the English word again is here rendered by the French prefix re-.

When should you use this expression? It’s very useful when lunchtime is over and you need to get back to the office. It’s a way to write “to be continued” at the bottom of the page. It’s less useful when you need to chew out your teenager for breaking curfew or denting the family car. It’s too friendly to be spoken through clenched teeth.

*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file:

on_va_recauser_de_ca.mp3

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