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Talk like a Parisian: the essentials

If you’ve spent some time around Parisians, you’ve probably noticed some unusual expressions that they love to use. French may be the language of love, diplomacy, and arts, but it is, above all, an ever-evolving language filled with emotion and hidden meanings. To talk like a local in no time, add these 11 expressions to your Parisian vocabulary:

“C’est le meilleur brunch de Paris.”

Parisians are always aware of the latest trends – or so they’d like to think. You’ll often hear them boast about having found the(newest)best café, brunch place, restaurant or bar in town. Don’t forget to put emphasis on the le.

“On se fait un déj?”

You’ll encounter many abbreviations in French. If there is one that you have to know, it is déj, which is short for lunch. You’d like to catch up with a friend? Ask them, “On se fait un déj?” to which they will surely reply, “Grave!” (You just said: “Shall we do lunch?”“Totally!”)

“Pppff …”

Sighing with conviction is an essential part of mastering the Parisian style. “Pppff…” (the pause is important) can be added to any sentence to express frustration, boredom, agreement – whatever you want, really! Remember to wrinkle your forehead, raise your eyebrows, or pout. (You can also do all of that at the same time.)

“Bah, en fait …”

This expression is used to buy time, especially when you are caught off guard, and it corresponds to the English “Well, ummh, actually… .” Don’t hesitate to stretch it out and roll your eyes while you think of something to say.

“C’est pas possible!” or “J’hallucine!”

Usually spoken under one’s breath, in an overly dramatic fashion, “C’est pas possible!” and “J’hallucine!” are used to express disbelief – both positive and negative. The grocery store closed right in front of you? “C’est pas possible!” The shoes you’ve been meaning to buy are 70% off? “J’hallucine!”

“J’en peux plus.”

“J’en peux plus.” translates to “I am exhausted” or “I can’t take it anymore.” It can be whispered after a strenuous meeting at work, a long run, or after having laughed yourself to tears.

“J’ai envie de vacances.”

Longingly shared with your friends over a cup of coffee, “J’ai envie de vacances.” tells the world that you are in desperate need of a break, preferably to Mauritius, to escape the city rush.

“C’est énorme!”

Your friend is getting married? “C’est énorme!” Your favorite series is finally available on Netflix? “C’est énorme!” Rihanna is on tour in Paris? “C’est énorme!” On top of meaning that It’s huge!,”C’est énorme!” is used to express amazement and excitement for things big and small.

“Je suis au taquet!” or “Je suis trop saucé(e)!”

Yes, Parisians love to complain, but they also like to voice their positivity. You are feeling happy, energized, and ready to rock? Share it with the people around you! “Je suis au taquet!” will tell the world that you are full-throttle and ready to rock the day. (A taquet is a sailing cleat that is used to block the sails of a boat in a given position, ensuring maximum sailing speed. #themoreyouknow) Similarly, “Je suis trop saucé(e)!” will let everyone know how motivated and excited you are. (No links to spaghetti sauce here.)

 

Photo by August Brill, Flickr / Creative Commons

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