Les filles ne sécheront pas les cours.
lay fee-yuh nuh say-shraw pah lay KOOR. Click below to hear this.*
The girls won’t cut classes.
You’ve heard of “cut and dried”? This is not that. In America, students, cut classes. In France, they dry them: sécher means to dry. whatever that means. Are they leaving their teachers hanging out to dry?
This is a simplified version of a headline from Le Monde, which is following the American presidential election campaigns almost as closely as the American media do. Here’s the full headline: Les filles d’Obama ne sécheront pas les cours pour voir leur père. Obama’s daughters will not cut classes to watch their father.
Three things to note:
1. Une fille is both a girl and a daughter. (Yes, I know, daughters are girls, and girls are daughters. You know what I mean.) The context will tell you how to translate in any given case.
2. Les cours are classes. Une classe is more likely to be a group of people who are taking a class–qui suivent un cours.
3. It is understood that pour voir leur père refers to watching him on TV. As a general rule, in French, you use regarder la télé for to watch TV, but voir (to see) a specific program or person on TV. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, but it may help you decide which to say.
The whole point of the statement, in the first place, is that President and Mrs. Obama do not allow their daughters to break rules just because they live in the White House. School, and the best semblance of normalcy the First Family can muster, trump the celebrity life.
*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: