While the topic of the previous episode was light and rather fun (How to talk to your pet in French), today’s episode is more serious and I hope will be very useful to you.
Listener Kate emailed me the following question:
“I am a relatively new French learner and there is something important that I need to get right. I have a severe nut allergy (the type that will put me in the hospital or even kill me if I accidentally eat nuts!). It’s important that I’m able to communicate this when I’m out to eat, but I’m a bit confused about the terminology. I’ve been told that ‘nut’ in French is ‘la noix’, but others have said this actually is just one type of nut, the walnut. Which is it? What is the best way to tell people about my allergy? “
This is an excellent question, and all the more so that in French there isn’t a generic word to refer to nuts! So, how then to talk about your allergies (and any other medical issue)?
Disclaimer: I can’t take the responsibility of missing out on any nut or product you may be allergic to. This episode does give you a few vocabulary words, but also my tips on how to prepare your trip when you are suffering from an allergy or a medical condition.
Vocabulary and Spelling of the French Words mentioned in this episode
Nut = hard fruit, generic term for walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, etc
Un fruit à coque
huile d’arachide = peanut oil
Peanut = une cacahuète
Walnut = une noix
Cashew = une noix de cajou
Une noix du Brésil
Une noix de macadamia
pine nut = un pignon
“je suis totalement allergique aux noix de toutes sortes” (= to nuts of all kinds) / aux fruits à coque ET aux arachides”
“j’ai une allergie mortelle à… »
une allergie mortelle = a lethal allergy
Etre allergique à / Avoir une allergie à (qch)
Faire une allergie à (qch) (= happening, having an allergic reaction)