Lesson Transcript

Hey, guys! Welcome back for more videos on French learning. It's Pierre from France and today's video will be about French gestures. When you speak a language, sometimes you use hands and in French, it's sometimes the case and it's important to know what it means because sometimes you can have some confusion. So here, I will show you 10 gestures that are used quite a lot in French and I think those gestures are not universal gestures.
So the first one is - J'en ai par dessus la tête. It literally means “I've got some stuffs above my head.” To do that in French, you do this as well like I've got some stuffs above my head. So it literally means the same than the expression and it means I'm fed up with this. So when you’re annoyed by something, you can say, ah j'en ai par dessus la tête or you can say, j'en ai marre which is the same meaning than this, j'en ai marre, you do this.
So here is an example - Il a encore oublié ses clefs. J'en ai par dessus la tête. The meaning is, “He forgot again his keys. I'm fed up with him.” So in French, in a natural conversation, you can say, in a natural conversation - il a encore oublié ses clefs. J'en ai par dessus la tête. Or - il a encore oublié ses clefs. J'en ai marre. So you can say that in French and you can do the gesture. So if you say, j'en ai par dessus la tête, you can do the gesture as well. But usually if you do that alone, it has no meaning. It's better and usually we use it with this expression so you say, j'en ai par dessus la tête, but you can also just use it without doing that. So you can just say, j'en ai par dessus la tête or j'en ai par dessus la tête. If you do that, it’s like you emphasize that you’re really annoyed by the situation. So it was the first one.
The next one is when you're scared like when tu a peur like the expression avoir peur “to be afraid / to be scared”. Another way to say it in French is flipper like when you freak out. So avoir peur - flipper, it’s the same meaning, but here, it's really casual like not something that you use a lot. You use it with friends.
So a way to express this feeling like when you're scared in French is to do this. It's not money. It doesn't mean money although you can use it for money, but when you do this like usually you have big eyes, you do this, it means oh I was so scared or oh I'm scared or you can say, are you scared? If you say that to someone like you do that, it means like, “Are you scared?” like you’re teasing someone.
So here, an example when you’re telling a story, you say, “Oh I was in the street and there were no light and I was so scared.”. So if you want to say that in French, you can say - Il n'y avait pas de lumière. J'avais tellement peur. “I was so afraid.” So here, you can say, j'avais tellement peur and you can say that, but usually, you will not do that. But I think the most common case when you use it is when you do that to someone like you do a little smile and you say it. It doesn't mean money, but it means, are you scared? You can use both hands and usually, you do that not here, but here. If you do that lower, it means you better understand that you mean, oh you’re scared so you do that. Are you scared? This is quite common and you can use it to tease people.
The next one is on y va like you want to leave somewhere, you say on y va or you can say on se casse which is really casual like the same as flipper, you say on se casse. It means like “let’s go” like you want to leave or “let's walk off”. On se casse is like “let's walk off”.
So here is a situation like you are at a party with a friend and the party is so boring that you want to leave so you want to say that to your friend so you say - ah, j'en ai marre like j'en ai marre or j'en ai par dessus la tête like the same. You can mix the two expressions. J'en ai marre. On y va! So you can say, j'en ai marre and then do the gesture associated to on y va which is this...or this...like you use the side of your hand and you do that. You can also do this or this, but when you do that, it means “let's leave” like you want to leave. So you can say like, “Oh I'm fed up with this. Let’s leave!”. You can use two gestures for only two sentences, but in French, it would be not that weird. So ah I'm fed up with that. Let's leave! Sometimes, you can also use it to express that you want to leave, but you don't want people to understand that you want to leave. So you're just looking at your friends without saying anything and you say... If you say that in a discreet way, it means, okay let's let's leave. If you do that, okay we need to leave, we have to leave. This is quite common to express something. So this one, you can use it a lot. This one, you don't use it a lot and this one, you can use it to tease people if you say that, but usually, you say something. Here, you can just say that like let's leave and quick like if you're really fast when doing that, it means like we need to leave really right now. Usually, you've got also the look that is showing that you are in a hurry, something like that, you need to leave. So this was the third one.
The next one is really famous, something associated to the expression, the onomatopoeia, oh la la! In French, we say a lot oh la la in many, many different situations and sometimes when you say oh la la, you will also do this, oh la la, like you've got your hand and you're doing this like your hand is just waving like that. So if you say oh la la, it means like “whoa”. It can mean like surprised or like you’re annoyed or you're happy. It means a lot of stuffs. You can translate that by “Oh no! / Oh my god!” or something like that, but it's a bit different like it's something difficult to translate and there is no meaning, oh la la! So you can say, oh la la.
So here, three different examples. If something is really incredible, you can say - Oh la la, c'est incroyable. You can say - Oh la la, c'est incroyable. Usually when it's astonishing or incredible, you don't do that a lot. You can say c'est incroyable and usually, you even don't do it. You can just say, oh la la.
But for those two, this is important like - Oh la la, j'ai oublie mes clefs. Usually, you don't do that a lot. You just do it a bit oh la la, j'ai oublie mes clefs like oh la la, j'ai oublie mes clefs. Sometimes, you have a sorry face like you look sorry like oh la la, j'ai oublie mes clefs,something like that and you do just a small waving like oh la la, j'ai oublie mes clefs which means you’re sorry for the inconvenience. Here, if someone told you, oh la la, j'ai oublie mes clefs, like he looks guilty, the answer of the friend can be, oh, it's always happening to you and he can also use oh la la. He can say - Oh la la, ça t'arrive tout le temps! Usually here for this, it's like just one - Oh la la, ça t'arrive tout le temps!
In most cases, you don't do that a lot. If you do that, it definitely means oh la la like this is definitely oh la la. But nowadays, we don't do that a lot. We just do one or something like that. Sometimes two but it's really brief like short. So here - oh la la, ca t'arrive tout le temps, you can do that just one so you do that. So this is a way. Oh la la is this.
The next one is je ne sais pas, literally “I don't know”, but it means more than I have no idea when you do this gesture. When you do this, it means I have no idea. We do that a lot. I have no idea. I think it's not only French people that are doing that, but in French, you can add something different. You can do this with your mouth like you can pout...You do that. You...and usually you can add also the sound like… I don't know... and you can also move your shoulders like...I have no idea. But you can also just do this with your mouth like just pout. If you do...it means like I don't know… We do that a lot. So with this, you don't say anything, but it means I have no idea. Sometimes in French, you say… Sometimes, you do that. You just flip your hands and you do…
So here, many different ways to express I don't know. You can say...or...or... It depends, but the most important thing is… It means I don't know. When you do that, it's quite common in French, you don't know like you definitely have no idea. Like someone asked you a question, usually, you don’t do that with strangers. In the street, if someone asked you his way, you will not say… like it's really rude, but with a friend like a friend told you like, “Do you know when the class is starting?”, you can say...or just...like you’re doing something, you just say...because it's a fast way to express that you don't know.
The next one is c'est pas moi like c'est pas moi or c'est pas moi. This is more like je ne sais pas, but if you do that, it's like c'est pas moi. So it means “It's not me / I didn't do anything / It's not my fault”. If someone did a mistake and someone is blaming you, you say c'est pas moi, c'est pas moi. It's like you're raising your hand like please raise your hand. It's kind of similar but in French, you can do that in common situations. So for example, someone told you - Qui a cassé le vase? “Who broke the vase?” You can say, c'est pas moi. Usually, you move your head like if you do know, you do c'est pas moi like you kind of know with your head, c'est pas moi. But you can use it in more common situation like someone told you, “Who ate the cake? Who ate the last piece of cake?”, you say - C'est pas moi. You can just - C'est pas moi. You don't need c'est pas moi. You don't need to do that like this. You can just raise a bit and say - c'est pas moi, but it’s kind of common like we do that a lot when you want to say, oh it’s not my fault like, oh no, it’s not me, c'est pas moi. So this one is quite common.
The next one is we don't use it a lot nowadays, but the expression is the same than the gesture. When you say mon oeil, it means “my eye” and when you do this like you stretch the skin under your eye, it means like mon oeil when you do this, mon oeil and it's like, “I don't believe it / I don't believe you”. We do that a lot when we are young like children in France they do that a lot, like mon oeil. It’s a bit childish if you do that or old-fashioned so if someone told that he’s sick and then you’re like il est malade like you want to say “he’s sick”, I don’t believe it. Like he said he's sick, I don't believe it. In French, you can say - Il est malade? Mon oeil. You can say the expression, but if you do the gesture, it's really childish, but you can see a lot of child doing that like a lot of children doing this, mon oeil. It means “I don't believe you / I don't believe what he said / I don't believe what you are saying”. So this one, not really used nowadays unlike the others, but it's still interesting to know this one.
The next one is j'ai du nez. It means like “I have flair” like you do this because nez, it means “nose”. So you just do that, you touch your nose. If you do that in French, it means like, oh I'm proud of me, I managed to guess this. So you can do that and usually you've got like a little smile like j'ai du nez. Or you can say to someone like he has a nose, j'ai du nez, il ai du nez, but it’s not that common. Usually, it's better to use it for j'ai du nez like for yourself, j'ai du nez like you’re proud of yourself so you just raise your eyebrows and usually, a little smile and you say like that, j'ai du nez.
So here is a situation like an example like you want to say, oh I told you she was pregnant. I have flair, I know those things. So in French you can say, Je t'avais dit qu'elle était enceinte. J'ai du nez! You can do that or you can just do it without the gesture, you can say - Je t'avais dit qu'elle était enceinte. J'ai du nez! Or you can just say the first sentence like “I told you she was was pregnant.” Je t'avais dit qu'elle était enceinte. You can say - Je t'avais dit qu'elle était enceinte. If you do that, you underpins that you're good because you managed to guess that, je t'avais dit qu'elle était enceinte and usually, you've got this satisfying smile with that. So here, this means I told you, something like that like I told you or I'm good at guessing or I have flair, I can guess stuffs. So this one, we use it sometimes.
The next one is il est fou! It means “He is crazy!”. What you can do to express that is just this. You just tap your head like “He's crazy!”. It's not like I'm smart with a smile like you’re satisfied. It's like...you have got a mean look or a despising look and you say, “You're crazy! / He's crazy! / Do you have a problem with your head? Are you okay?”, something like that. But you can also do, “Oh, are you okay? Are you okay?”. If you do that, it's more related to the ears like, “Can you understand what we say?” Est-ce que tu comprends ce que je dis? Are you crazy? Do you have a head problem? You can say that, but there is also a really childish version that we do a lot like French children do that a lot at the playground. It's doing this, you use your finger and you just tap with one finger your head like this and the most childish version of that is then to point the person that you think is crazy. You do that like two times and then two times. You tap two times your head and then two times you point the person. Children also just tap two times like you're crazy, you're crazy, but sometimes, they also point the person. So you don't do that if you're not a child because it's really weird if you do it now, but you can see sometimes children doing that. It means like you are crazy and usually you do that directly in front of the person because when you're a child, you don't care about the opinion of people so you just do this and this. It's just like a small game so not much. So don't use it, just prefer to use this or this, but it's just a funny thing to know.
The last one is motus et bouche cousue or sometimes just motus, you can get rid of that. Motus et bouche cousue, it’s a French expression which means “keep it under your hat”. So in English, it’s “keep it under your hat”, but you don't do that right? But in French, you've got a gesture associated to this. Motus, it doesn't have any meaning. When you say motus, it’s like don’t talk, don’t tell anyone about it like don't talk about that so no meaning. Et is “and” and when you say, bouche cousue, it means like “stitch mouth”. So the gesture you can do is stitch mouth so you do this, just like that. You don't stitch it. You just do one slide. It's like you zip it, you zip your mouth. So you say, motus et bouche, you can say that. So you can say, motus or motus et bouche cousue, but you can also say this. If you want to stay discreet like you told a secret to someone, but another person is coming in to the room and you want to express quickly that, “Oh I just told you a secret. Don't tell anyone. Don't tell the person that just came in.” So you just say like it’s discreet and if the person didn't see you, it's good because you avoid using words so you're silent when you do that. So when you do that, it's a good way to express that don't tell anyone. Because usually when you say, motus et bouche cousue, it's more like you say it but you don't do the gesture, but you can also do the gesture to express the meaning. But motus et bouche cousue, it’s a bit childish, the way you say it, but you can say it. It's like a lot of teenagers and adults still say it.
So we've seen 10 different gestures. I'm going to show them once again.
J'en ai marre. J'en ai par dessus la tête. “I’m fed up with something.” You can do that.
Avoir peur like flipper. “You’re afraid?”, “Are you afraid?”, or “I was afraid.”
Then on y va “let’s go”. You do this. It means, okay, let's go.
Next one, oh la la or just oh la la. Usually when you say oh la la, it’s like that, but when you do a full sentence, you just do it once then you do the sentence, oh la la, oh la la. Oh la la, je suis en retard. “I’m late.” Oh la la, I’m late. So you can do that.
Next, je ne sais pas, but you can also do that...like a pout. You pout...like you do just the pouting or you can also do it with your hands like...I don't know…Je ne sais pas…
C'est pas moi, it’s like, whoa, it’s not me like usually you do that with your head in the same time like c'est pas moi “it’s not me”, it’s not my fault. I didn't do anything like c'est pas moi. You can use it in everyday life, not only if you're arrested. You just say, oh I don't know like it's not me if something happened like someone is telling you it's your fault. No, it's not my fault.
Then mon oeil. Mon oeil, you do that, but it's a bit childish, be careful.
J'ai du nez, you do that, you’re satisfied so you smile. I have flair. I knew it. I knew it.
Then - Il est fou! “He’s crazy!” So this or this. He's crazy! He's crazy! You're crazy! You are crazy! Like a mean look. I'm talking to someone, you're crazy!
The last one motus et bouche cousue, motus… et bouche cousue.
It was Pierre. That's all for today and see you next time.