Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why I LOVE French!

The recent Presidential election produced a hilarious catchy phrase that cracked me up every time I heard (or saw) it. Back in 2008 when then President Sarkozy was glad handing people at the Paris International Agricultural Show, he had a brief but heated exchange with a man who did not want to shake his hand. Sarko lost his cool and uttered the now famous, "Casse-toi pauvre con!" phrase which his political opponents immediately seized upon and began using against him by creating posters and stickers with that exact phrase on it. Before I moved here I had only ever heard that the English translation of 'con' was 'asshole.' Thus, I thought Sarkozy was calling the guy a 'poor asshole.' However, in discussing the phrase with my French friends I discovered how wrong I had been. Con is actually one of the trickiest words to translate and has a myriad of different meanings depending on how, when and where it is used.
A 'jeune con' is a young fool. Someone with very little life experience.
A 'petit con' is a little moron. Probably a kid who is messing around.
A 'gros con' is just your basic moron (adult version).
'sale con' while the literal translation for this might be 'dirty bastard' it really means someone who has acted in such a way that other people got harmed for no good reason.
A 'vieux con' is an old fart.
A 'pauvre con' is an idiot or a loser and depending on the tone and context it can be anything from a buddy joke to raw insult.
Which brings me back to this fact: as the Merovingian in the Matrix Reloaded said
"I LOVE the French language. I have sampled every language and French is my favorite. Fantastic language! Especially to curse with. It's like wiping your arse with silk."

1 comment:

  1. I plan to visit Paris some day and thought
    maybe, with all the online things, I could
    learn French. Then the further I delved
    into it, I finally abandoned that delusion
    of grandeur.
    First it was all the different 'e' sounds,
    then all the different vowel cluster sounds
    (eau au eu oeu ei ie eille ui oy euil) to
    name a few. I finally broke down, sobbing and
    weeping, at the idea of conjugating all
    French verbs in 8 different tenses.
    Now I'm going to make do with 'Parlez vous anglais?' And maybe Sarkozys quip. I'm sure it sounds nice.