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Lesson Transcript

Virginie: Bonjour!
Eric: Eric here. Top Five Phrases That Your Teacher Will Never Teach You.
Eric: Thanks for being here with us today Virginie. What are we going to start looking at in this lesson?
Virginie: Aujourd’hui, today we will share with you phrases that your teacher will never teach you.

Lesson focus

Eric: Wow that sounds fun. This is going to be some slang right?
Virginie: And listen that we don’t want you guys to bring up one of those at the mayor’s garden party if you are ever invited. That may be inappropriate.
Eric: For each of the phrases, we are going to tell you the situation that these phrases fit in and the context that’s appropriate for them.
Virginie: After that, French people will definitely take you for a native.
Eric: You know that’s one big thing about learning a new language which we are able to actually be able to speak in the familiar language too.
Virginie: You will want to speak casually with friends and family, speak formally with your boss and these are called the registers of language.
Eric: In French, there are three registers.
Virginie: And today, we will focus on two of them, casual register and the familiar register.
Eric: All right and what is our first phrase?
Virginie: I love our first phrase. It’s so commonly used. It’s “On se fait une bouffe avec un bon p’tit Pinard?”
Eric: Whoa! Whoa!
Virginie: Which you probably don’t understand right. Okay slower, go ahead.
Eric: “On se fait une bouffe avec un bon p’tit Pinard?” And that means how about we get a meal with some nice wine. So French people are going to be using this to suggest that they get together with some friends for lunch or dinner.
Virginie: Yeah they also use it to just suggest dinner at the restaurant.
Eric: Okay. So we will get this a little bit more close to you Virginie. What are the slang words that we need to focus on in this phrase?
Virginie: Well the word “bouffe” for example, let me spell it: b-o-u-f-f-e is slang for food, bouffe. If you use it with the indefinite article une u-n-e, it will mean a meal like in our example but if you use it with the definite article la, l-a, it just means food.
Eric: Okay and it’s feminine. And what about the other phrase Pinard p-i-n-a-r-d, that means wine?
Virginie: Yeah absolutely. Pinard is a very common word to talk about wine in France and the two words “bon petit” right before it are there to insist on both the casualty and the pleasant aspect of the preposition. Un bon petit Pinard.
Eric: So every time you say “bon petit” before something, you are giving it this nice casual aspect?
Virginie: Yeah. You could say for example: J’ai vu un bon petit film. I saw a good movie. Bon petit film.
Eric: Is it a reply to anything?
Virginie: No, not really. Only for foods, drinks, books, movies and shows like entertainment.
Eric: Okay. So let me repeat this phrase again: On se fait une bouffe avec un bon petit Pinard?
Virginie: Avec plaisir! Yes, yes, yes sure let’s get something to eat.
Eric: We just started our lesson. Now I don’t want to ??? on our listeners.
Virginie: Okay one last word about this phrase. Only use it with people you feel you can be casual with. You can shorten it too. You can say “On se fait une petite bouffe?” How about getting lunch? And if you say it faster, it will sound like “On s’fait une p’tite bouffe?”
Eric: Wow, that’s pretty fast. I wanna keep it slow for now. Let’s move on to phrase #2. I have “Ne m’arnaque pas” which means: don’t rip me off.
Virginie: “Ne m’arnaque pas” or “ne m’arnaquez pas” which means the same but it is addressed to someone you don’t know. The verb “arnaquer” is spelled a-r-n-a-q-u-e-r.
Eric: Hopefully you won’t have to say that to your friends. So if you are saying it to a stranger, you are going to say: Ne m’arnaquez pas.
Virginie: Right and you can still say that to a friend as a joke “ne m’arnaque pas”, don’t rip me off but of course it will be a joke.
Eric: French people also sometimes use this word at the flea market when they are bargaining for example.
Virginie: Yes and this said, watch your intonation when you say it. The verb “arnaquer” is strong enough in itself that you don’t need to stress it. If said in a soft manner with a humorous tone, it will put everyone at ease.
Eric: By the way, it’s also interesting to see where the verb “arnaquer” comes from.
Virginie: What is the original meaning?
Eric: Well the verb “arnaquer” came from the verb “harnacher” spelled h-a-r-n-a-c-h-e-r which means to entertain someone in order to swindle them. I don’t think we have anything quite equivalent in English that makes this pretty interesting. Harnacher. But this word lost its initial h and then just became “to cheat”.
Virginie: I suppose you could say that while playing poker.
Eric: But only playing with friends. You don’t want to sneak into a game in Vegas and say these things. It’s going to be weird also in French.
Virginie: Right. It would be rude.
Eric: And probably misunderstood. You may end up in the security booth of a casino.
Virginie: Only say that phrase “ne m’arnaque pas” among friends or “ne m’arnaquez pas” when bargaining at the flea market or for antiques et cetera.
Eric: Let’s move on to the third phrase: J’ai pigé. I understand.
Virginie: “J’ai pigé” which is spelled j-apostrophe-a-i-space-p-i-g-e- accent aigu which stands for “I have understood”. The closest translation would be “I got it”.
Eric: For example: J’ai pigé le problème. I’ve understood the problem.
Virginie: The verb piger p-i-g-e-r is definitely slang but less strong than what we have covered previously. It’s more like keep slang, it’s not offensive, and it’s not familiar. It’s just little casual.
Eric: However if you want to say that you don’t understand anything, you can say “je pige que dalle” which is slightly more familiar than “j’ai pigé”.
Virginie: Yes “je pige que dalle”. I don’t understand anything.
Eric: So “que dalle” is slang in French for nothing. Personally that’s one of my favorites. I use that all the time but only with friends and family.
Virginie: If you don’t understand what we are talking about, just leave us a message on the forum saying “je pige que dalle!” oh and let me spell “que dalle” for you. It’s q-u-e-space-d-a-l-l-e.
Eric: Okay phrase #4.
Virginie: Je me casse!
Eric: Oh no Virginie don’t leave!
Virginie: Well obviously you guys understood what it means. It means “I am out of here” but I am not actually.
Eric: Good. Stay! Besides you promised to pay me “la bouffe” for lunch.
Virginie: Right okay, good reuse of the first phrase. Someone is showing off here.
Eric: Okay “je me casse”: I am out of here.
Virginie: My dear listeners, I have the feeling this will sign the end of a beautiful collaboration.
Eric: More seriously, literally the verb “casser” c-a-s-s-e-r means to break. The French language has an infinite number of ways of using this idiom.
Virginie: Yes and in this case, “casser” is used as a reflexive verb, it’s “je me casse” which is j-e-space-m-e-space-c-a-s-s-e.
Eric: In which context is it appropriate to say “je me casse”?
Virginie: Certainly not everywhere. It’s rather an offensive way to say “I am leaving” and usually people use it when they are either angry or frustrated.
Eric: Yeah. So if you leave the apartment to buy a baguette don’t scream at your French girlfriend or boyfriend “je me casse” they will probably think you are leaving them.
Virginie: The feeling this phrase conveys is that the person who says it is tired of something and wants to move along.
Eric: I also want to give out another phrase with the verb “casser” if we have some time.
Virginie: Sure but I am afraid it’s going to be – what I think it is.
Eric: Tu me casses les bonbons.
Virginie: Indeed.
Eric: It means “you are breaking my balls” but literally it means you are breaking my candy and you know, the candy is…
Virginie: Yeah. I don’t think we could fall any further into vulgarity, my dear listeners.
Eric: Oh I’ve slacked your sensibilities again. We could though.
Virginie: Let’s move on to our last phrase.
Eric: Here it is: Je suis à la dèche. I am broke.
Virginie: I like this one very much: J’suis à la dèche. Could you spell it for us Eric?
Eric: Oh yeah it’s j-e-space-s-u-i-s-a accent grave-space-l-a-space-d-e accent grave-c-h-e. Je suis à la dèche. Again this is something you don’t want to use with your boss unless you really, really need a raise.
Virginie: Yes it’s not vulgar but it’s definitely casual and again among friends and family and not with your in-laws.
Eric: Okay so the word “la dèche” means to lose something in gambling and also it means destitution in general.
Virginie: Well if I got a penny for each time I said that phrase, I would be rich paradoxically because it means I am broke right?
Eric: Me too. I am always “à la dèche”.
Virginie: You can also use the word “dèche” in the phrase “c’est la dèche” to point out that you run out of something specific, not necessarily money.
Eric: Okay so that means it is the “dèche”. Okay so for example, the Fridge is completely empty. C’est la dèche.
Virginie: Right.
Eric: There is a total lack of food.
Virginie: Exactly and we are running out of time right now.
Eric: Ah c’est la dèche. Probably it only works with concrete things and not things like time.
Virginie: Yeah, good point. It has to be concrete.
Eric: Okay well I guess that’s it for NP day.
Virginie: NP day.
Eric: Nasty phrase day.


Virginie: We hope you enjoyed this lesson.
Eric: And thank you again for joining us on FrenchPod101.com
Virginie: Thank you, au revoir!
Eric: Bye.