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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Quand même

Here's another French expression that you'll see pop up here, there and everywhere. This is what it means.

French Expression of the Day: Quand même
Photo: Depositphotos
Why do I need to know quand même?
 
Quand même seemingly can be (and is) thrown into conversations all over the place to mean a range of different things.
 
Getting to grips with expressive phrase will add liven up your French conversation skills.
 
What does it mean?
 
The translation of quand même (‘when even’) doesn’t make it easy to glean the meaning of this expression, and given that it can mean so many things, intonation and context are key to understanding it in conversation.
 
One of the most common uses of quand même is to show you’re surprised by something (the same way you might use ‘really?’ in English.) This can be in a positive or negative sense. 
 
For example, tu peux gagner €2000 (‘you could win €2000’) or ça va coûter €2000 (‘it’ll cost €2000’) could both elicit a surprised Quand même! in response.
 
Another meaning for quand même is ‘even so’ or ‘anyway.’ In a sentence you might hear it used like Je pense qu’il est déjà parti, mais je vais y aller quand même. (‘I think he’s already left but I’m going to go there anyway.’)
 
You might use Merci quand même (‘thanks anyway’ or ‘thanks for trying’) with someone who attempts but fails to help you with something. Pay attention to intonation though, because this phrase can also be used sarcastically if someone hasn’t made enough of an effort to help.
 
Another use for quand même is an intensifier to add emphasis to an opinion like c’est beau, quand même (‘it’s really beautiful’) or c’est quand meme difficile (It’s really difficult.)
 
Finally, quand même can also mean… finally. For example, J’ai fait le ménage. – Ah, quand même! (- ‘I’ve done the cleaning.’ – ‘Finally!’)
 
How can I use quand même?
 
Tu arrives, quand même! ça fait une heure que je t'attends.
 
You’ve finally arrived! I’ve been waiting an hour.
 
Un amis, c'est quelqu'un qui vous connaît bien et qui vous aime quand même.
 
A friend is someone who knows you well and likes you anyway.
 
Timide, moi? Oh non, quand même pas.
 
Me, shy? No, not really.
 
(The above examples are from wordreference.com)
 
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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Word of the Day: Soixante-huitard

About one in five people of a certain French generation can be described using this term.

French Word of the Day: Soixante-huitard

Why do I need to know soixante-huitard?

Because it references a very important part of French history and culture.

What does it mean?

Soixante-huitard – pronounced swah-sahnt wheat arr – literally means sixty-eighter. While its translation might sound a bit like a sports team (ex. Forty-niners),  this term in French has an important political and social context behind it. 

A soixante-huitard is someone who participated in the famous May 1968 protests in France. With the backdrop of the Prague Spring and the American Civil Rights Movement and anti-war protests, French students and striking workers demanded a more egalitarian world in May 1968. 

This period of civil unrest lasted seven weeks and even forced then-President Charles de Gaulle to temporarily flee to West Germany. The events of this time have had a profound effect on French culture and politics. 

Around 11 million people – 22 percent of the population at the time – was involved in some way or another, and these days, those people are referred to as un soixante-huitard or une soixante-huitarde (for a woman). 

Though the term is typically reserved to refer to those actually involved in the protest movement, it can occasionally be used as a way to describe someone who has held onto the far-left ideas or sentiments from the 1968 movement.

Use it like this

Il a gardé ses convictions d’extrême-gauche longtemps après 1968. C’est un vrai soixante-huitard. – He held onto his far-left beliefs long after 1968. He is a true sixty-eighter. 

Tu pourrais être surpris que ta tante ait une soixante-huitarde. Ses opinions ont certainement changé avec le temps. Tu ne l’aurais jamais deviné ! – You might be surprised that your aunt participated in May 68. Her opinions have really changed with time, you would never have guessed it.

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