Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

French bullshit


This pose cracks me up.

Last Friday’s post got me thinking about how to vulgarly call someone out for their crap in French, and the answer’s good enough that it’s worth sharing. The French version of Bullshit Man would be this guy.

If you’re up on your Men Who’ve Been Bond, you’ll probably know that le premier was Scottish, but my point is that “Connery” is exactly how you pronounce connerie, which is the French equivalent of merde de taureau.

Of course, swearing in another language, more than anything else, is about nuance. You can’t just interchange words — it’s all about the usage. One of the lovely things about English is that you can use almost any “bad” word in almost any context and your point still gets across. Take “shit” for example. You can use it to express disappointment (Oh shit, I lost my favorite hat); excitement (Holy shit, that’s amazing!); approval (that song is the shit); disapproval (what a piece of shit); the list is near endless.

So, connerie does mean “bullshit” in one sense but it’s not in any way interchangeable. If someone’s saying something that’s incredible (untrue), you can exclaim, C’est des conneries! Conversely, if they’re just lying out of their asses or saying totally idiotic things, you can bust out, Arrête tes conneries!

I could go on forever about swearing in every language since I do so love to spice up conversations with a well placed cuss word, but really the best thing is to watch TV shows and movies. I was told recently that the French dubbed version of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is very well translated, so I may actually seek that out. When I first saw it in the late 90s, I never imagined wanting to revisit it, and certainly didn’t consider that I could ever learn anything from it, but you never know where the next lesson will come from.


Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

3 thoughts on “French bullshit

  1. It’s amazing how much cuss words actually play a role in everyday life. I remember that les gros mots probably were some of the first French words I learnt here.
    I now very well understand the English expression, “excuse my French.”

    • I told my French teacher about “pardon my French” and she was totally mystified. I’ll have to look into where the saying comes from, but the French do swear a lot. It’s another reason I like them :)

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