Learning French Through Slang
Learning French through slang (argot) is a great way to develop your cultural understanding, and improve your language skills. Slang is a fun way of learning French, and gives you a real taste of the authentic language of native speakers. The more French slang you learn, the more natural you will sound. Especially when you are trying to speak with fluency. You want to be able to speak the language that the people of France speak every day on the streets.
It must be noted however, slang is hard to teach in any language. Think about how varied English slang can be, both internationally (US vs. UK English), and regionally. In the UK especially, different counties can be so heavily influenced by the slang of the region it can be almost like another language in itself!
This is the case in France, with some French slang words being regional specific, and some across the country. You could be sat in a café in Aix en Provence having a conversation with students, and have exactly the same conversation in Paris, and it could feel like two different langauges!
With all that being said, here are some of our favourites French slang words:
Everyday French Slang:
- C’est top - that’s great
- C’est nul - that sucks
- Nickel! - perfect!
- Flasher sur quelqu’un - to have a crush on someone
- Piquer - to steal
French Slang Phrases:
- Un coup de téléphone - literally: “a hit of telephone” – a phone call
- Perdre la tête - to lose one’s head
- C’est n’importe quoi - it’s nonsense
- Arrête de te la péter - stop showing off
Regional specific slang:
A chocolate croissant:
- Une chocolatine - used in Quebec and in Toulouse
- Un petit pain - used in Northern France
- Un pain au chocolat - used across the rest of France
- Un crayon gris - Southern France
- Un crayon de bois - Northern France
- Un crayon - everywhere else
- Les baskets - in France, referring only to trainers / running shoes
- Souliers - in Quebec, refers to everyday shoes. Considered to be old-fashioned in France
- Les chaussures - the rest of the French-speaking world
Any we have missed that you enjoy using? Don’t forget to share them with us on our social channels!