March 15, 2009

Photo du Jour - Language


One of the amusing ways that the English language is used in France. This was on the front page of Thursday's local paper, the Midi Libre.

Translation: Pézenas A traffic stop uncovers marijuana traffickers.

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15 comments:

wcs said...

Oh, I always thought "shit" was hashish. Maybe it's meaning has evolved since the 70s?

wcs said...

Sorry, its. That apostrophe just gets in there automatically and I only notice it in the split second after I hit "publish."

Loulou said...

I read that it could be hash or heroin. Maybe I should change my post?

Loulou said...

Yeah, I changed it.

I always make the "it's" / "its" mistake too!

Ken Broadhurst said...

Loulou, I just read the Midi Libre article and it says the drug found was cannabis, aka marijuana or hashish, not heroin. People were growing their own and sharing it around the village.

In my limited experience, "shit" has always been used in French as a slang (or headline) term for marijuana.

Loulou said...

Thanks Ken! I guess I'm not up to speed (no pun intended) on my drug terminology.
:)

Ken Broadhurst said...

My interest is purely linguistic, of course.

Here's a link to the Midi Libre article.

Ksam said...

Have you guys every thought about where the usage of "shit" in French comes from?

My theory is that a bunch of French potheads were sitting around watching an American movie and heard them say "Man, that's some good shit". And then they assumed that we called weed "shit", so they started using it as well to be cool and it spread from there!

The Beaver said...

It is used as an abbreviation for the word "Hashisch" ( the black type -don't know how many there are but in the book that I mentioned below- they have names for different types depending on sources) . It has another name "beu" for a better grade.

There is a book on the Police lingo_Dictionnaire de la police et de la pègre- for all the "sobriquets" of drugs in France.

My knowledge comes from reading too many novels that took place in Marseilles :-) when I was a teenager and the Centre Culturel Français was well-equipped with books!!!!!

Veronica said...

hmm, am I mistaken or is the book you can just see in the photo Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book? What a great resource that is!

Betty C. said...

My students always snicker when I say "sheet" as in "sheet of paper, " because that's the way they pronounce "shit." It took me a few classes to catch onto this.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Betty, I was going to mention that pronunciation:
it's "sheet" as you say. Du sheet. Very funny.

Loulou said...

Ken
Thanks for the link! And the linguistics. :)

Ksam
Good theory.
I thought it was so funny to see the word shit on the front page of a newspaper.

Beaver
I need someone like you around for questions about the French language! Can you please come live next door?

Veronica
You are very observant. It was a birthday present from a friend and I love it!

Betty
Too funny! I can just see you being all confused in front of your students. Did you laugh when you finally figured out why they were giggling?

Ken
:)

Betty C. said...

Oh, I can't remember when I first figured it out. There is also just the plain old four-letter word "shit" that many of them know, so whichever way you interpreter it, when I first say "Now I'm going to hand out a sheet about...." it can sound funny.

Also, oddly, a lot of kids seem to arrive in college not really knowing the word "sheet" as in "sheet of paper, worksheet..." It seems like that would be pretty well-anchored after 7 years of English, but I guess one can't make any assumptions.

Loulou said...

Betty
Kids in school are always searching for something to be amused by, aren't they?
:)