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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Seven French expressions to help you complain about the heat

As the temperatures rise, here are some handy French phrases to grumble about the heat.

Seven French expressions to help you complain about the heat
Photo: AFP

C’est insupportable  

It’s unbearable. If you are finding the temperature a touch too warm, you might want to use this to complain to your friends and neighbours.

You could use it as la chaleur est insupportable (the heat is unbearable) or ces températures sont insupportable (these temperatures are unbearable).

Je crève de chaud  

I’m dying of heat. Not literally, of course, but if you want to express something similar to the English phrases ‘I’m boiling’ or ‘I’m roasting’ this is a good one.

If you’ve actually been taken ill by the heat and need medical help, you would say you have insolation (sunstroke).

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Photo: AFP

Je transpire comme un boeuf

Not very elegant perhaps, but here’s how to tell someone that you are sweating heavily in the heat. Roughly equivalent to the English phrase ‘sweating like a pig’ in French you say you are sweating like a bullock. If you want something a little more colourful, you could add Je transpire comme une pute a l’eglise (I’m sweating like a whore in church).

J’en ai marre de cette chaleur

Complaining is considered something of a hobby in France and J’en ai marre is an essential expression that you can use in any circumstances, not just when it’s hot.

The expression J’en ai marre means ‘I’m fed up’, ‘I’m sick of it’ and ‘It’s getting on my nerves’. 

So when it comes to the heat you just have to say j’en ai marre de cette chaleur (I’m fed up of this heatwave).

Je n’en peux plus de cette canicule

J’en peux plus means ‘I can’t take it anymore’, ‘I’ve had it’ or ‘I can’t do it anymore’.

So J’en peux plus de cette canicule means, you just can’t bear the heat anymore.

J’en ai ras-le-bol de cette chaleur

The delightful little term ras-le-bol  means something along the lines of gloominess, despondency, despair, bleakness, ‘fed-upness’ or discontent in general.
 
It is most often used as part of the phrase en avoir ras-le-bol which when put into the first person form would be: j’en ai ras-le-bol
 
That literally means “my bowl is full” and even though this might seem like it could be a good thing, it actually means ‘I’ve had enough’. 

So you might hear j’en ai ras-le-bol de cette chaleur.

Vivement la fin de l’été

The word vivement means ‘wishing for’ or ‘I can’t wait for’ so people who really don’t like the hot weather might be wishing autumn would come early.

If you agree you could say Vivement la fin de l’été – roll on the end of summer.

Member comments

  1. Oh oh – gender mistake!! Vivement LA fin de l’été. LE fin de l’été is to sit in a shady corner drinking a glass of chilled rosé. LA fin de l’été is when they all come back from wherever and start preparing for La Rentrée.

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For members

LEARNING FRENCH

How to talk email, websites, social media and phone numbers in French

It's a very common experience to have to give out your phone number or email address in France, or take down the address of a website, and there is some specialist vocabulary that you will need.

How to talk email, websites, social media and phone numbers in French

The correct names for punctuation marks used to be fairly low down on any French-learner’s list, but these days they are vital whenever you need to explain an email address, website or social media account.

Likewise if you want to talk about websites, or social media posts, there are some things that you need to know. 

Punctuation

Obviously punctuation points have their own names in France, and making sure you get the periods, dashes and underscores correct is vital to giving out account details. 

Full stop/period . point. Pronounced pwan, this is most commonly heard for French websites or email addresses which end in .fr (pronounced pwan eff eyre).

If you have a site that ends in .com you say ‘com’ as a word just as you would in English – pwan com – and if the website is a government site such as the tax office it will end with .gouv.fr (pwan goov pwan eff eyre).

At symbol @ Arobase – so for example the email address [email protected] would be jean pwan dupont arobas hotmail pwan eff eyre 

Ampersand/and symbol & esperluette

Dash – tiret

Underscore _ tiret bas 

Forward slash / barre oblique

Upper case/capital lettersMajuscule (or lettre majuscule)

Lower caseminiscule

The following punctuation points are less common in email or web addresses, but worth knowing anyway;

Comma , virgule. In France a decimal point is indicated with a comma so two and a half would be 2,5 (deux virgule cinq)

Exclamation mark ! point d’exclamation – when you are writing in French you always leave a space between the final letter of the word and the exclamation mark – comme ça !

Question mark ? point d’interrogation – likewise, leave a space between the final character and a question mark 

Brackets/parentheses ( ) parenthèse

Quotation marks « » guillemets 

Numbers

If you need to give your phone number out, the key thing to know is that French people pair the numbers in a phone number when speaking.

So say your number is 06 12 34 56 78, in French you would say zero six, douze, trente-quatre, cinqante-six, soixante-dix- huit (zero six, twelve, thirty four, fifty six, seventy eight, rather than one, two, three, four etc)

Mobile numbers in France all begin with 06 and ‘zero six‘ is a slangy way of talking about your phone number.

Donne-moi ton zero six pour qu’on puisse se capter parfois. – Give me your number so that we can hang out sometime.

Social media

If you want to give out your Twitter or Instagram handle, the chances are you might need to know some punctuation terms as described above.

Otherwise the good news is that a lot of English-language social media terms are used in France too.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have the same names in France and have entered the language in other ways too, for example you might describe your dinner as très instagrammable – ie it’s photogenic and would look good on Instagram.

On Twitter you can suivre (follow), aime (like) or retweet (take a wild guess). You’ll often hear the English words for these terms too, though pronounced with a French accent.

There is a French translation for hashtag – it’s dièse mot, but in reality hashtag is also very widely used.

Tech is one of those areas where new concepts come along so quickly that the English terms often get embedded into everyday use before the Academie française can think up a French alternative.

There’s also the phenomenon of English terms being mildly ‘Frenchified’ such as having a slightly different pronunciation or being adapted to sound more French, such as the below UberEats advert, which uses the words ‘swiper, matcher, dater’ – not really correct French but clearly instantly understandable to the young demographic that the advert is aimed at. 

Photo: The Local

READ ALSO Why do French adverts love to use English words?

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