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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French word of the day: Youpi

For everyday pleasures, big and small.

French word of the day: Youpi
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know youpi?

Because, although pretty basic, it sounds different to equivalents in other languages. Plus we often teach you swearwords and phrases that express exasperation, but knowing how to express joy in French is key as well.

What does it mean?

Youpi is French for ‘whoopee’ or ‘yippee’, that cry of joy that exists in different variants internationally.

The French youpi is pronounced something like ‘yo-pee’ (or ‘ju-pi’). Some spell it youppi.

Youpi is like ‘weehoo’, ‘yay’ or ‘hoorah’ – it’s just a way to show that you’re excited about something. 

It is colloquial, but sweet and no one will think badly of you for saying it at work for example (provided something happens that merits a cry of enthusiasm).

Use it like this

On part en vacances demain, youpi ! – We’re going on holiday tomorrow, yippee!

Youpi, j’ai trop hâte de boire un verre en terrasse ! – Yippee, I can’t wait to have a drink out on a terrace!

Je pense qu’il va gagner, youpi ! – I think he’s going to win, yay!

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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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