Le test formidable de vocabulaire Spiral-based!

January 10, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Posted in language | Leave a comment
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(An updated version of this test is now on the Guardian TV & Radio blog.)

Get into the mood for the return of Spiral with my French slang test. Below are a set of phrases you may hear as Laure, Tintin, Gilou, Pierre, Joséphine et al. go about their business. Just pick a translation for each and check your answers at the end. Bonne chance!

Disclaimer: this quiz contains strong language from the start, mild peril, and scenes of a sexual nature.

1. T’es niqué, mon pote!

a. You’re fucked, me old beauty!

b. Put your trousers on, sunshine, you’re nicked.

c. Ooh, you’ve cut yourself! That looks nasty.

2. J’en ai marre de tes conneries!

a. Enough of your idiocies!

b. Enough of your lies!

c. Enough of your Bond impressions!

3. Je bosse demain, quoi.

a. I’ve got work tomorrow, innit.

b. Might have a duvet day tomorrow, yeah.


4. Merde! Ce sont des échangistes!

a. Shit! They’re foreign students!

b. Shit! They’re swingers!

c. Shit! They’re cross-dressers!

5. Putain! C’est quoi, ce bordel?

a. Heavens, this is tedious. Anyone fancy a game of bowls?

b. Goodness! Are these the courtesans of the Russian president?

c. What the fuck’s this fuckup, for fucksake?

6. Dégage, espèce de salaud!

a. Goodbye, and thanks for your call!

b. Bloody vegan restaurants! I’m off for a kebab.

c. Bugger off, you lowlife!


Answers: 1. b; 2. a; 3. a; 4. b; 5. c; 6. c.

Five or six correct: Bah, vous êtes dingue de l’argot, quoi? You’re totally qualified to turn off the subtitles. In fact it’s a good idea, as otherwise you’ll just be sitting there going ‘Well, that’s not actually what she said, you know, not in Parisian French, at least.’

Three or four correct: Pas mal, mon pote! Keep at it, and soon you’ll be swearing along with the telly like the best of us.

One or two correct: Bah, t’es pas dans ton assiette, hein? Never mind. Écoutez, et répétez. It’ll come.

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