Au fait, comment va ton frère?
oh fett, kuh-mah vah taw FRAIR? Click below to hear this.*
By the way, how is your brother?
Au fait means on the fact. What fact? And what are we putting on it? A little ketchup, a dab of foie gras, a cherry?
We could be at a party, and there could be some of those things to nibble on. But we are making small talk here, and if it’s about the food, that would be demeaning to your brother. I can just hear it: “These tiny appetizers are delicious. –By the way, how is your brother?”
Luckily, the tiny appetizers have nothing to do with your brother, unless he’s a chef. Probably you just said something about visiting relatives, or about your nieces and nephews, or about the profession your brother happens to practice. And that prompts your friend to ask, Au fait, comment va ton frère? That is: on the subject of the fact that you just mentioned, I am reminded to ask you about your brother.
I hope he’s doing well. Here, have another appetizer!
*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: