So the French like their acronyms. A lot. It’s one of the biggest things I noticed in my very first meeting at the university, as I was noting down strings of letters I didn’t understand to go look up later. I figured I may as well be a good language blog and actually make a list of them, many of which, if you come to France to live, work, or especially study (like on an exchange or whatever), you will almost certainly come across in everyday conversations. You don’t necessarily need to know what they all stand for - I’m not convinced even native French speakers could immediately give you all of them without hesitating - but if you know what they mean you can use them the same as everyone else. Enjoy ^^
(la) fac - la faculté - used for university in the same way we’d shorten it to “uni”. Je suis à la fac = I’m at uni.
UFR - Unité de Formation et de Recherche - used basically to mean “department”. L’UFR d’anglais = the English department.
LEA - Langues étrangères appliquées - a degree in foreign languages, normally two, with an aim of being more ‘practical’ (“applied”). Je suis en LEA anglais/espagnol = I’m doing a joint English/Spanish degree.
LLCE - Langues, littératures et civilisations étrangères - a degree in which you study just one foreign language but more in depth. It involves more literature, history and cultural stuff than an LEA and often leads to teaching.
L1, L2, L3, M1, M2 - used to indicate what year you’re in. L for licence (Bachelor’s), M for master. Je suis en L1 anglais = I’m in my first year of English. (NB - many subjects would also be abbreviated, eg philo (-sophie), psycho (-logie), histoire-géo (-raphie))
BTS - Brevet de Technicien Supérieur - another form of higher study other than university, more vocational… (I’ve not a lot of info on this one tbh)
SHS - Sciences humaines et sociales - social studies/sociology.
Bac - (le)Baccalauréat - the final exam at the end of high school that you’d take when you’re 18 normally. There are different ‘branches’ you can choose - L (littéraire / literary), S (scientifique / science), ES (économique et social / economy and social studies). If someone says something like j’ai (fait) un bac L it means they did more literature/language/philosophy classes at school, whereas j’ai (fait) un bac S would be more science based etc.
Bac+3, Bac+5 etc - higher education is always measured against the baccalauréat, with the + meaning the number of extra years. So a bac+3 is a licence/Bachelor’s because it’s 3 more years of study after high school. A bac+5 would be a masters, and a bac+7/+8/beyond would be a doctorate.
LMD - licence, master (maîtrise in some places), doctorat - the normal university levels/stages of Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate.
TD - (un) travail dirigé - small classes, seminars, more interactive, more exercises.
TP - (un) travail pratique - small classes, more ‘practical’, in a language context it’s in language labs with headphones etc.
CM - (un)cours magistral - lectures, big classes, less interactive
ECTS - European Credit Transfer System - a standardised credit system across a lot of Europe. Normally it’s 60 credits to pass a year.
CC - contrôle continu - continuous assessment, grades every week, participation grades, several small tests etc.
CT - contrôle terminal - grade comes from one all-encompassing final assessment. It’s often something you’d have to apply for, justifying why you can’t come to classes or do CC. J’aimerais passer en CT = I’d like to switch to final assessment.
DST - (un)devoir sur table - an in-class exam/test. J’ai un DST d’anglais demain matin = I have an English exam tomorrow morning.
CAPES (pronounced like capès, with the s) - Certificat d'Aptitude au Professorat de l'Enseignement Secondaire - the competitive exam that allows you to become a teacher. You’d take leCAPES d’anglais to become an English teacher, le CAPES de français to become a French teacher etc
Cité U - (la) cité universitaire - university residence/halls.
CROUS (pronounced as a word) - (le) Centre Régional des Oeuvres Universitaires et Scolaires - the organisation that manages student services, bursaries, and accommodation France-wide.
ENT - (un)Environnement (ou espace) Numérique de Travail - the intranet, moodle, etc.
FLE - Français (comme) langue étrangère - French as a second/foreign language.
TOEFL/TOEIC (pronounced as words) - Test of English as a Foreign Language / Test of English for International Communication - two of the biggest/most widespread/most recognised English proficiency exams.
CDD - (un)contrat à durée déterminée - a fixed term contract.
CDI - (un) contrat à durée indéterminée - a permanent contract (le rêve de tous les jeunes quoi).
brut - before tax - un salaire brut is what your employer pays for you.
net - after tax - un salaire net is what you actually take home at the end of the month.
sécu - (la) sécurité sociale - social security, health insurance etc. Le numéro de sécu is a social security number.
CAF (pronounced as a word) - (la) caisse d’allocations familiales - the organisation that manages benefits/social welfare.
Where I’ve put an article in brackets, you’d use that article before the acronym, e.g. la CAF, le CROUS, le DST, for some things you’d mostly use en with no article, e.g. en L1, en LEA, en CT
Let me tell you a story about what a pretentious fuck I was.
I started talking to this person. This wonderful, kind, sweet, loving, adoring person bless their beautiful soul. I found myself drawn to them and before I knew it I was falling for them, like crushing big time. I ignored it for as long as I could but eventually I couldn’t deny it anymore. I liked this person, they had become precious to me and I wanted a deeper relationship. It took me a long time to admit this to myself (because I am a turd when it comes to dealing with my crushes). I kept trying to convince myself that I wasn’t developing romantic feelings for them, and I kept making up excuses for why it wouldn’t work out. One of those excuses (and I am so ashamed to admit this) was because they’s asexual.
I’m pansexual myself, and have always considered myself very sexually active. I like sex, I like being sexually pleased and pleasing my partners. I like the intimacy of sex and the feeling of being desired. The thought of being in a relationship where that might not be an option seemed absolutely absurd to me. Like mentioned before, there were other excuses for why I refused to acknowledge my feelings. Distance, age gap, fear of rejection… but for some reason their asexuality seemed for some mind-boggling stupid reason to be my biggest issues.
I didn’t consider myself acephobic. I respect and acknowledge asexuality, but I was just not interested in ace people. I was not attracted to them because they were not available… but that was wrong. Gay men were unavailable to me as well, but that did not stop me from being attracted to them. Yes, I did not act on my attraction, but I wasn’t denying the attraction either purely based on their sexuality. So why was it different with asexuals? Why was I willing omit this whole demographic from my list of potential partners? Why did the prospect of a relationship with potentially no sex scare me so? Was I being acephobic?
In my experience when you start to question whether or not you are being racist, homophobic, transphobic, acephobic ect. you usually are.
As a genderfluid person I would happily date a person who identify as gay if my feelings were being reciprocated, but I was excluding asexuals because of their sexuality. I was being a prejudicial fuck, and that was not acceptable!
I did some soul searching. Was sex being off the menu really that big of a deal? So I made a mental list of what sex is to me:
- physical pleasure
- a way for me to show my attraction to my SO
- stress reliever
- a way to feel close to my SO
- a way to measure my worth
…a way to measure my worth. Ufff. That if that isn’t a wet towel in your face then I don’t knkw what it. The reason why a relationship with the potential of no sex scared me so was because it took away the only thing I have used to measure my worth in a relationship. Emotional support, encouragement, companionship, love was all something I believed my partner could get from friends and family. Sex was however the one thing only I could provide. Sex had become my equivalent of my worth to my partner. First of all, that is a sick way of thinking about yourself. It is not okay to base your self-worth on others’ sexual desire for you. Secondly, that is a very unhealthy attitude to sex, by all means DO NOT adapt this attitude. Your worth should never be based on someone’s perception of you!!
My past relationships have not been great. They have all been a lethal cocktail of equal part mental abuse and toxic codependency. They have also all started with me sleeping with someone and then several fuck sessions later been labeled as a relationship. Not one of them have started as mutal romantic attraction. Which might explain my relationship with sex and my distorted basis of self-worth.
So now I knew why asexuality was such an issue for me. Because my warped perception of self was making it impossible for me to imagine myself in a relationship with an ace.
I eventually came to the conclusion that I was being absolutely ridiculous. That I was letting fear rule me. That I was denying myself feelings for a person because I was uncomfortable with facing a truth about myself.
I made another list. A list of reasons for why this person might want to be with me if not for a regular supply of sexual intercourse.
- They feel comfortable around me
- They seek my companionship and enjoy my presence
- They genuinely care about me as a person
- They want a relationship based on mutual feelings and respect
I liked this list. This seemed like a much stabler foundation for a relationship than purely sexual attraction. The more I thought about this the more I realised I wanted it. Sex was never an issue, my own insecurities were. And once I acknowledged them I was able accept my flaws and move past them. I still have a lot of work to do (this is an issue you don’t dismiss overnight) but I was able to free myself from a hurtful mindset and admit to myself that I liked this person. I really, really liked this person. And although I loved our friendship I wanted more. I wanted to be closer to them, I wanted to confess my feelings, I wanted to share a special bond with them.
However when it all came down to it I was to chickenshit to do anything about it. I was too insecure and too afraid of rejection (remember how I said that my issues are not fixed overnight).
Luckily for me my partner had more courage and asked me out. We have been dating for a couple of weeks now, and I have loved every single moment of it. Never have I been in a relationship where I have felt so safe, supported, and loved. Never have I felt such a strong connection to another human being. None of it is forced and it all feels so natural.
And to think I almost denied myself this happiness because I was a closeminded scared little coward.
i feel like a lot of people forget that behind a screen is like an actual person so like just in case u forgot this is ur reminder that your words are never just words. they hold meaning and have an effect on people. and just because someone might have offended you or pissed you off or whatnot doesn’t mean you get to hurt them back.