Bonjour à tous!
The term at Paul Valèry is winding down at long last in the final week of lessons before we’re allowed a week of freedom. Sadly, this does mean that we’ve had exams – mostly language exams. Between us, we’ve taken exams in Spanish, Catalan, Russian, Occitan, Italian and German because we’re all so international and bilingual *hair flick*. I’ve had a German exam, which went surprisingly well, and an Italian exam, for which we haven’t been given our marks back yet but considering it was a beginner exam it will be quite embarrassing if I haven’t passed. Although I can confirm that our Italian teacher hates les anglaises as he calls Chantal, Nichola and I, so he might fail us just to spite us. We’ll see.
Since we’ve been revising our languages this week (or we’re supposed to have been), I think it’s only fair that you should learn something new as well. Unfortunately, my French still leaves much to be desired; my Franglais, however, is en pointe and I use it tout le temps. So without further ado…
A crash course in Franglais
Franglais is a very useful language if you’re fluent either English or French and learning the other. It’s useful for when you’re in France and you can’t really be bothered but want to show that you’re making an effort, or for when you’re in England and you want to look like a super pretentious moron. For the sake of this blog post, I’ll assume you’re fluent in English and know a few French words (if you’ve taken French GCSE you are more than capable of speaking fluent Franglais and are in fact almost overqualified for this course). Franglais is a language that allows you to pick and choose the best bits of French and revert back to English when things get tricky, often switching languages several times per sentence. There are no rules when it comes to Franglais, only tips.
Tip 1: Use as many French words as you can.
This goes without saying. If a French word comes to mind, use it. The trick is to never let it interrupt the flow of your sentence. If you have to stop and search for a word, don’t bother, just use the English word. A good tip is to stick ‘le’ (or ‘les’ if it’s plural) in front of any given noun instead of ‘the’ for immediate Franglais. Example:
- I learnt a lot from les tips on your blog.
Tip 2: Don’t bother with conjugation.
Conjugation is a big no-no. We hardly bother with conjugation in English (I like/you like/she likes/we like/they like/you like, it’s the same word) and as I said, we’re choosing the best/easiest bits from both languages. If you need to use a tense other than the present, use the easy English conjugation with the French verb, which sounds complicated but it’s really just whatever comes into your head first. Some examples are:
- “We were mange-ing lunch when he arriver-ed.”
- “Do you fancy sortir-ing this evening?”
- “What will you faire if you don’t réussir à your exams?”
Tip 3: Use French constructions in English.
In French, if you want to say ‘I don’t fancy it’ you’d say, ‘J’ai pas d’envie’. Since we’re speaking Franglais it probably means we can’t be bothered with the beginning bit of the sentence, but to show you’ve made an effort, you could use the French construction if you felt so inclined. ‘J’ai pas de’ means ‘I don’t have any’, so this sentence could be said like this: ‘I don’t have any envie.’ Other such sentences are…
- I’ve got faim (I’m hungry)
- You have raison! (You’re right!)
- I’ve got the flemme (I can’t be bothered)
Tip 4: Abbreviate.
We’re all very busy people and we simply do not have time to learn a whole language or even say whole words. Here are some useful abbreviations of French words you can use:
- Bonj = bonjour = hello
- Merc = merci = thank you
- Parf = parfait = perfect
- Des = desolé(e) = sorry
- Déj = déjeuner = lunch
- Pet déj = petit déjeuner = breakfast
Tip 5: Invent words.
Like I said, no rules in Franglais. Rules are for losers.
- ‘Cul sec’ means ‘down it’ (well it literally means ‘dry arse’ but let’s not get caught up in details). For some unknown reason, there is no verb for this other than ‘faire cul sec’, so we had to invent a better one: ‘culseccer’. This is used in Franglais as so: ‘I culseced it’, meaning, ‘I downed it’.
- Mécanique. A mécanique is someone who works with cars. However, if you break the word down: a mec is a man or a guy, à is the preposition to and niquer is a verb that means to have an amorous relationship (actually it’s a bit more explicit than that). So in this case a mécanique is a man you’d like to have an amorous relationship with, meaning a good looking man. I seriously don’t know how the French have missed this one. (CREDIT AND COPYRIGHT CHANTAL KIJAK AND RUTH PRITCHARD 2014)
- ‘Qu’est-ce que sup’. ‘Qu’est-ce que’ means ‘What is’. Then take the ‘sup’ from ‘wassup’ and you get ‘Qu’est-ce que sup’, meaning ‘What’s up?’ or, more simply, ‘Hi.’
Our French friends do this in English too. My favourite ones so far are Virginie’s ‘night lunch’ instead of ‘dinner’ and Celia’s ‘happy meal’ instead of ‘bon appétit’ :)
Tip 6: Everything is optional.
The beauty of Franglais is that you literally cannot make mistakes because technically it doesn’t exist. I’ve left prepositions and accents in the examples, but they’re optional. Everything is optional about Franglais. Whether or not you even bother with it at all is optional.
Congratulations, you’re now fluent in Franglais and incomprehensible to both English and French people alike :)
In terms of what’s been going on this week… something awful happened at Paul Valèry on Monday (TW: suicide. I couldn’t find the link in English). I’m so grateful that even though I was in uni, I was safely tucked away in a lecture didn’t find out about it until Tuesday morning. I don’t really know what to say about this incredibly sad event so I suppose I’ll just leave it at that.
On a lighter note, other than exams and uni my week has consisted of, you guessed it, the gym, food, and nights out, all of which make me very happy.
The only acceptable photo of me from Virginie’s birthday
I’m a chef now
Feasting after 12 hours of uni
Presents from home! :D
Crossed off the bucket list this week:
- Learn to cook properly (I think I can safely say I can cook to a reasonable standard now, even if I still need recipes)
That’s all for now folks.