This is the second part of my conversation with Jean Auquier, the manager of the Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée in Brussels, Belgium – home to many famous cartoonists and characters. This episode focuses on the cutest and tiniest characters of Belgian comic art, the Smurfs (Les Schtroumpfs). How were they born? Why are the Smurfs blue? What makes the Smurfs so popular? Why is the Smurf language so interesting, linguistically and socially? Here are only a handful of the many aspects we’ll discuss in this interview!
How the Smurfs were born
Why are the Smurfs blue?
A linguistic and social look at the Smurf language
La Schtroumpfette, the only female Smurf
Gender of Smurfs
What makes the Smurfs so popular
TV and cinema
Cultural variation between countries
The Smurfs after their creator’s death
Jean Auquier’s Smurf reading recommendations!
Jean Auquier’s favourite Smurf
agrafer = to staple
album (nm) = comic book
avoir la répartie facile = to be quick-witted, to be quick to respond
barrage (nm) = dam (water)
diminutif (nm) = dimuntive, nickname
en avoir marre = to have enough,to be fed up
être friand,e de = gourmand, fond of
faible = weak
fainéantise (nf) = laziness, idleness, apathy
flamand,e = Flemish
foule (nf) = crowd
long métrage = feature film, full-length film
lutin (nm) = elf, leprechaun; imp
marmite (nf) = caldron
mettre les pieds dans le plat = to put your foot in it/in your mouth
peluche (nf) = plush toy
rameuter = to round up; to mobilize for new activity
récit (nm) = story, tale; account
salsepareille = rough bindweed, common smilax, sarsaparilla
sorcier (nm) = wizard, sorcerer
superpouvoir (nm) = superpower
tire-bouchon (nm) = corkscrew
- (Part 1) Why are the Smurfs blue?
- (part 2) What do cartoonists often listen to while they’re drawing?
- (Part 2) When was La Schtroumpfette born?
- (Part 3) What year did Peyo die? (You’ll have to do a bit of maths here!)
- (Part 4) What’s Jean Auquier’s favourite Smurf? What’s mine?
- This colour has not already been associated with people…or aliens!
- They listen to the radio
- In the early 60’s
- 1992 (Jean Auquier met him in 1989 and Peyo died 3 years later)
- Le Schtroumpf Paresseux. Le Schtroumpf à lunettes
Links & Resources
- Website: cbbd.be
- My article and worksheet “Schtroumpfez-vous français?”: https://frenchyourway.com.au/schtroumpfez-vous-francais
- French Your Way Podcast, episode 71: “Position of adjectives (PART 1): “voiture rouge” or “rouge voiture”?” – frenchyourway.com.au/podcast71
- French Your Way Podcast, episode 72 : “Position of Adjectives (PART 2): un homme pauvre, un pauvre homme” – www.frenchyourway.com.au/podcast72
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