You Won’t Find These Words in Your Textbook

Listen up everyone–it’s time for a quick vocabulary lesson!  And make sure you take good notes, because you won’t be going over these words in French class anytime soon.

Here’s a bit of slang that I picked up while I was studying in Grenoble.  Some of these words and expressions were introduced to me by my host family, but most of it I picked up during the course of daily conversations.  Learning new words by memorizing long lists may not always be the most enjoyable part of a language class, but in the real world it can be a lot of fun.  It’s almost like solving a puzzle: when you hear a new word, you’ll have to think about it a bit, and use context clues. You’ll figure it out eventually (and if you can’t, just ask whoever you’re speaking to)!  Then you can use the slang in your daily conversations, which helps you a) remember your new vocab, and b) sound really cool at the same time. 🙂

Study Abroad Gap Year Programs in Grenoble, France - Host Family

My host brothers and me... two of the best teachers I had in France! 🙂

So, without further ado (and in no particular order), here’s my list:

Ça roule? What’s up?  (similar to ça va, but cooler)
J’ai la flemme I’m feeling lazy
Mais c’est dingue! That is absolutely crazy!
Marrant, ça! That’s funny!
Je crève de faim/ Je crève de soif… I’m dying of hunger/I’m dying of thirst
Au boulot! Let’s get to work!
Coucou! Hi!/Hey!
Ouais Yeah

 

 

 

 

 

Les potes/les gars/les gosses Buddies/guys/kids
Bosser To work, to labor
Bouffer To stuff one’s face
Kiffer To love
Comme d’hab As usual (short for comme d’habitude)
Uber-/Hyper-/Super- Very
un mec/une nana A dude/a chick
C’est nickel! It’s perfect!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
[Note: these expressions are all pretty informal.  You can use them around friends and your host family, but you’ll probably want to use the formal expressions for anything school or homework-related.]

 

Do you have any words or expressions that you would add to the list?  Let us know in the comments below!

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👋 Hi everyone! I'm Eryn Fleener a senior at DePaul University in Chicago, studying Early Childhood Education. I studied abroad with API Summer 2019 in Florence, Italy! I will be taking over API Instagram tomorrow, make sure you follow along!
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