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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Word of the Day: Bla-bla

This handy little phrase can be either cute or dismissive, depending on how you use it.

French Word of the Day: Bla-bla
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know bla-bla? 

Because we all know someone who loves to waffle on. 

What does it mean? 

Bla-bla, sometimes written blabla and always pronounced blah-blah, has a number of definitions. 

The first is the similar to that used in English. Bla-bla can be used to mean an incoherent rambling of words that don’t really lead anywhere or carry any weight. 

Ce n’est que du bla-bla – It is just nonsense/gibberish 

In a similar vein, the term can be used to talk about lies, deceit or misleading language. 

Préviens-moi quand tu auras fini ton bla-bla – Let me know when you have finished with your bullshit 

Le discours du président n’est rien que du bla-bla – The President’s speech was nothing but lies 

Another use of the term bla-bla, which we don’t really use in English, is to mean chitchat or friendly conversation. 

A number of French supermarkets have introduced blabla caisses, or chitchat checkouts, where shoppers who want to take their time and have a chat with supermarket staff while paying for their goods are free to do so. 

READ MORE French supermarkets open ‘chitchat checkouts’ to counter loneliness

La blabla caisse ralentit la cadence – The chitchat checkout slows down the pace

Ces blabla caisses autorisent les clients à prendre leur temps et faire un brin de causette – These chit chat checkouts allow clients to take their time and have a little conversation 

There is a ride-sharing company in France known as Blablacar. On their profile, drivers describe how chatty they are, with bla meaning not very chatty, bla bla meaning sometimes chatty and blablabla meaning very chatty. 

Synonyms

Bagou – Guff/glibness 

Baratin – Bullshit/claptrap/waffle 

Bavardage – Prattle 

Battage – Hype

Causer – To chat 

Verbiage – Waffle 

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: S’autokiffer

Here's a newish addition to French - aka the language of love.

French Expression of the Day: S’autokiffer

Why do I need to know s’autokiffer?

Because French is the language of love, so you should know how to extend that to yourself too.

What does it mean?

S’autokiffer – usually pronounced sought-oh-keef-ay – means to love yourself.

The phrase, a colloquial way to reference self-love, combines the prefix auto (self) with the verb Kiffer, which originally comes from Arabic and is used in French slang to mean “like,” “love” or “very into.” When put together, it becomes the perfect way to say “self-love” in French, but sometimes it can be a bit derogatory if you are referring to someone else in this way.

The French like to put auto in front of words. Some others you might hear are autodérision (to make fun of yourself) and autocongratuler (to congratulate yourself/ pat yourself on the back) or, during the pandemic, autotest for a home test kit for Covid.

The phrase can be used as a verb (ex. je m’autokiffe), or as an adjective (ex. Il est autokiffe) to describe someone who really loves themself – maybe a bit too much.

It can be either positive to talk about someone who is comfortable with themselves or negative when talking about someone who loves themselves more than is reasonable ie they’re arrogant and full of themselves.

This is not something you’ll hear in a formal setting, and you might see some creative ways of conjugating it, as it is primarily a slang phrase. But, if the self-love trend has made its way to France, it is safe to say this word might be around for a while. 

Use it like this

Toutes les photos sur son portable sont de lui-même, il est un peu un autokiffe. – All of his pictures on his phone are of himself, he’s a bit full of himself.

Il est hyper important de s’autokiffer. Les gens disent que si tu ne peux pas s’autokiffer, comment tu peux kiffer quelqu’un d’autre ? – It is super important to love yourself. People say if you cannot love yourself, how can you love another person?

Alternatives

Bien dans sa peau – literally translating as ‘good in one’s skin’ this means a person who is comfortable with themselves and accepts themselves as they are.

Avoir le melon – meaning ‘to have the melon’ this means someone who is big-headed, full of themselves or arrogant

READ ALSO 21 essential fruit and vegeatble expressions

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