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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

‘Allez putain!’: French phrases you need for the 2022 World Cup final

France take on Argentina on Sunday in the World Cup final, an event that is causing huge excitement - here are some helpful French phrases to shout at the big screen.

'Allez putain!': French phrases you need for the 2022 World Cup final
Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Allez les bleus!

Let’s start with the basics. This literally means “Go the blues” and is perhaps the most popular phrase of French football (and rugby and handball). Pronounced “allay lay bleugh“, you can shout it before, during, or after the game. If you’d prefer, a similar version is “Allez les gars” (Allay lay garr) which means “Come on guys” in a kind of encouraging tone. 

And if you want to urge France to score a goal then just shout allez! it’s basically their version of come onnnnnn!

Anyone not jumping is not French

If things are hotting up, there could be a moment when all the French fans start jumping and chanting and you might want to jump with them.

They will likely be going through an old chant that basically says anyone who is not jumping isn’t French or in the native language: “Qui ne saute pas n’est pas Français”.

“On est en finale”

France are of course already in the final, so singing ‘we’re in the final’ may not seem to make much sense. Nonetheless this is a popular football tune so you might still hear it being sung – check out the tune below.

Speaking of songs, the 90s dance hit Freed From Desire is one of the unofficial anthems of the team, so expect to hear that belted out too. No need to learn the words – Na-na-na-na-na, na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na will mostly suffice.

Goal!/Oui!!!/Buuut!

While the Brits may say “YEAHHH” and the Spanish will say GOOOOOL to celebrate a goal, the French seem to have a couple of options. They might shout “BUUUUUT” (or “goal”), a caveman-esque OUUUUUIIIIIII (or YESSSSSSS), or just GOAAALLL in English. 

Comédien

The French won’t hesitate to call out an actor, so if someone looks like they’re faking an injury then yell out “comédien”

Pénalité

The French will shout this, or more likely “Pénaliteeeeeee” if they think France deserves a penalty.

Tirs au but

Tirs au but is the dreaded penalty shoot-out at the end of games which are still level after extra time.

Putain!

This, as we’ve written before, is one of the most versatile and important swear words in French. It’s roughly the equivalent of “shit”, and is useful to say when something astonishingly good happens (pu-taiiiiiiiin) or when something terrible happens (PU-TAIN! or Puttaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin). 

There are two ways to pronounce it. The first is puTAIN (pronounced poo-TAHn), the other drops out the u and becomes almost one syllable, so p’TAIN (pTAHn). 

And if things are not going well for Les Bleus we can expect the frustration levels to boil over and the swear words to really come firing out. 

Putain will become putain de merde if the opposition score, and if they score again then feel free to use putain de bordel de merde in sympathy with your frustrated French friends.

Oh là là là là là là !

Slightly more family-friendly and often heard on TV commentary is the super-charged version of oh là là ! – it can be either good or bad but often used for moments of surprise, such as when a player misses an open goal.

Hors-jeu!

Feel like an opposing player is offside? Then yell out “hors-jeu“. Pronounced: orr zheurgh.

Arbitre carton jaune!

Does a player deserve a yellow card? Then tell the ref, of course. Just yell out something that sounds like “Arrbeet karton zhonne”.

But the reality is you will normally hear the French most football fans insulting the referee when he makes a decision they don’t like, in which case if you want to join in you could say:

Arbitre enculé! which basically means you bastard referee, a phrase we obviously don’t condone.

The classic refereeing insult in French is Aux chiottes arbitre! which literally means “to the toilet referee!”

You also might hear these words a lot: Putain d’arbitre.

And another word you can shout at the referee if you think a French player has been fouled is Faute! If he doesn’t give the foul then see above for how to react.

Many French fans won’t hesitate to yell out payé after a bad call, suggesting the referee has indeed been paid off. 

Main!

This word, pronounced kind of like “marn”, is what you should yell if a player appears to touch the ball (or “handball” in English). 

Quel but! 

Lastly, shout out “quel but” or “What a goal!” when Mbappé/Giroud do their thing.

And the national anthem – La Marseillaise

France has one of the world’s best national anthems for sporting purposes, it’s got a really rousing tune and suitably combative lyrics. As such it’s often belted out by fans at key moments during a match, in addition to the formal pre-match anthems.

The full lyrics are;

Allons enfant de la patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L’étendart sanglant est levé
L’étendart sanglant est levé
Entendez-vous dans vos campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras
Égorger vos fils et vos compagnes
Aux armes citoyens, formez vos bataillons
Marchons, oui marchons
Qu’un sang impur abreuve nos sillons
 
 

Member comments

  1. Please correct mistakes on French anthem. Merci.
    Allons enfantS de la patrie
    Le jour de gloire est arrivé
    Contre nous de la tyrannie
    L’étendarD sanglant est levé
    L’étendarD sanglant est levé

  2. Pls correct spelling mistakes
    Allons enfantS de la patrie
    Le jour de gloire est arrivé
    Contre nous de la tyrannie
    L’étendarD sanglant est levé
    L’étendarD sanglant est levé

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FRENCH LANGUAGE

‘Sac iconique’: France unveils French shopping terms to replace English versions

A commission that seeks to act as a guardian of the French language has published a string of recommendations for translations of shopping and style terms, to replace widely-used English ones.

'Sac iconique': France unveils French shopping terms to replace English versions

Perhaps inspired by this month’s Paris Fashion Week, the non-binding recommendations from the Commission for Enrichment of the French Language were published in Wednesday’s Official Journal.

Instead of an “it-bag” — defined as “a handbag in the latest fashion or that stands for a brand” — ministries and businesses are encouraged to write “sac iconique“.

An “it-boy” or “it-girl” can now safely be described as an “icone de la mode” and a “must-have” transforms into an “incontournable“, while “try before you buy” becomes “essayer-acheter”.

There are also more baffling business terms that may be unfamiliar to many native English speakers, like “digital native vertical brand” (“marque integree nee en ligne“).

Set up in 2015, the Commission for Enrichment of the French Language aims to “provide French vocabulary appropriate to the need for communication that is clear and accessible to the greatest number of people”, it said in the introduction to its 2021 annual report.

Led by a member of the Academie Francaise — founded in 1635 under King Louis XIII to guard “pure” French — the Commission says it “recalls to a broad audience the importance of having and using French vocabulary so as to keep our language functional”.

Given the dominance of English in global business and technology, its terms are the most frequently targeted for translation into the language of Moliere.

“These days there’s no invention, innovation or discovery that doesn’t have its corresponding term, increasingly often in English,” the Commission said in its report.

“The flow of new concepts that must be defined and named in French is therefore continuous.”

The report cited fields including hydrogen power, the Covid-19 pandemic and malicious digital activities as recent areas to which  its 20-odd expert groups have turned their attention.

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