Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ops, sorry for the language

We were having our weekly internal meeting.

A coworker was telling his issues with his client, with some French slangs that I was not familiar with. I understood that he was angry / unsatisfied, but did not understand the descriptions he used. Then, at one point, he must had split out something that was not so acceptable, as another coworker turned his head, looked at me and said: "sorry for the language".

"Don't worry, I didn't understand those words anyway, so no damage caused here." I jokingly told him.
"We will explain to you later".
Well, usually during the internal meeting, I would jot down words that I don't understand and ask someone later. Little by little I collect the slangs, but never used them, as some of them are not appropriate when used by a woman.

After the meeting, we walked to lunch. So I asked what was the word said just now that made him so uncomfortable.
Coworker A:"It was..." he hesitated..."Well, B will explain to you". He didn't know how to explain it.
Coworker B: "He just wanted to say that the situation sucked."
Me:"Ok, just tell me the sentence, I will ask my husband later".
Both of them yelled "no" simultaneously.
Ok, that got me very curious. I forced them to tell me the word, one of them finally spelled it to me.

At home.
Me:" LG, what does quequette mean in French"?
Hubby:"What???" His eyes almost popped out.
Me:"Something pronounce like quequette."
Hubby:"It means penis."
Ok, I still don't know what was the sentence used though.
Me:"But there is another word with the same meaning, which one is worst?"
Hubby:"The other one".
I wrote about this word in another post.

So you see you really need to understand the informal French /slang/street language in order to truly understand a French conversation. Language schools teach you the formal French, but I hear people using slangs in day to day conversations. I used to find these horrible, as how can people spell out these kind of words during a formal meeting. But gradually I accept them and actually find them funny and "lively". Some descriptions can really crack you up.

Some examples I have in mind:
Une maison = A house in French but a lot of times people use "une baraque"
Une voiture = A car in French but some people use "une caisse" or "une bagnole"

One day while having lunch with my coworkers, someone ended his talking with a conclusion "c'est un torchon". Torchon = Tea towel in French. I looked at him and asked what he meant. He said tea towel is usually dirty, so he wanted to say that the situation was a mess. Ok, I was not convinced, as I immediately thought of the tea towel in my in laws house: nicely ironed, folded and stored. I couldn't associate it with a mess.

It is fun learning these words actually!
If you want to learn more of these slangs, go here.

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