For French learners: You need to know that, unfortunately, the real world looks a bit different from what you learnt, more confusing and less structured with the use of slang. Here we will tell you why you must study slang, and you will learn 5 of the most used French slangs in everyday life and how to use them properly!
Slang is an aspect of language that isn’t usually taught in the classroom but is an important part of becoming proficient in any language. A person learning French might attend daily classes. They might study the grammar and the formalities and might even produce complex and coherent sentences. But, take this student out of the classroom and away from the textbooks, and they will encounter a world of language that breaks the rules they learned.
Although studying proper French rules is important, slang is unavoidable, no matter what language you’re speaking. In drama and music, conversations and advertising, language becomes less formal and goes less and less “by the rules”. Real-life French is so different from the textbooks.
Taking the time to understand slang and informal speech will boost your communication and language skills, and save a whole lot of confusion. Slang will allow you to use language in a current, useful way. No amount of time in class can prepare you for the contemporary nuances you’ll be faced with when you put your language knowledge to practical use out in the real world.
It’s time to cover common French slang expressions that are used every day in France!
1. Vachement - really
The word vachement is a slang expression meaning “really.” You can use this expression when you want to emphasize something. It can be both used with positive or negative words. It is stronger than très (”very”). This expression is often used by young people.
Ce gâteau est vachement bon!
This cake is really good!
2. Etre bourré(e) - to be drunk
The phrase être bourré(e) literally means “to be stuffed.” But when it’s used as a slang expression, it means “be drunk.” You can use this expression when you want to talk about being drunk. This phrase is less formal than ivre and is mostly used with family or friends. This expression is often used by young people.
Tout le monde était bourré à la soirée d’hier.
Everyone was drunk at yesterday’s party.
3. Faire un tabac - to be a hit
The phrase faire un tabac literally means “make a tobacco.” But when it’s used as a slang expression, it means “to be a hit.” You can use this expression when you are talking about something that is a major success.This expression is used often by everyone.
Ce film a fait un tabac chez les jeunes.
This movie was a hit among young people.
4. Ne pas faire long feu - to not last long
The expression ne pas faire long feu literally means “not make long fire.” But when it’s used as a slang expression, it means “to not last long.”
You can use this expression when you talk about something that doesn’t last very long, or something that ends rapidly. It is often used when someone is about to go to bed, to insist that this person is so tired that she won’t make it much longer if she doesn’t go to bed ASAP. This expression is used often by everyone.
Mon appareil photo n’a plus de batterie, il ne va pas faire long feu.
My camera don’t have battery anymore; it won’t last much longer.
5. Piger - get
The word piger literally means “understand.” But when it’s used as a slang expression, it means “get.” You can use this expression when you are with your friends or family. It is stronger than the neutral word comprendre (”to understand” ) and has a negative connotation.
This expression is often used by young people.
Je n’ai rien pigé à ce qu’il a dit.
I didn’t get anything from what he said.
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