Ca Va … what’s French for ‘a Bit Crap’ again?

Today was not the best morning for the guy at the newspaper stand to start talking to me in French. Every so often, when things are quiet, the tall skinny one with glasses gets a bit of a mischeivous glint in his eye and starts trying to engage me in a spot of French conversation. This dates from around Christmas last year when, fresh from a trip to Paris and overhearing him speaking French to another customer, I greeted him with a merry ‘Bonjour’. Sadly, despite a French O Level, this proved to be pretty much my entire French spoken vocabulary as he quickly found out. Ever since, he likes to spring a few French phrases at me on occasion to see how I respond. I don’t know why – possibly he hates the French and likes to hear their mother-tongue mangled, or perhaps he just enjoys the trapped-rat look of panic that comes over my face as I try and respond.

Anyway, today I was particularly tongue tied. I’d woken up with a throat like sandpaper and a head full of cotton wool and only the chance to spread my lurgy to some of the more senior managers at work had persuaded me not to call in sick in the first place. I’ve a feeling the same thing may happen tomorrow. So what is the French for ‘I’m feeling particularly rubbish this morning, how are you’ anyone? Because responding with that would really blow him away.

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16 responses to “Ca Va … what’s French for ‘a Bit Crap’ again?

  1. un peu merde?

  2. I’m sure someone will come up with something more correct but, just in case, would this work?

    Je suis un peu malade maintnent…et vous?

    I believe that’s how you say, I am a bit sick right now…and you?

    It’s been about 30 years since I’ve had to write in French, so the spelling is probably wrong. But, you know, there are translation web sites that can be amusing as well as helpful sometimes. You can try this one:

    http://translation2.paralink.com/

    Good luck. And I hope you feel better soon.

  3. Well, you could go for

    “Je suis malade et crevee, et vous, ca va?”

    which roughly translates as “I’m sick and knackered, how are you?” As you leave you could say “Bon continuation” which is “carry on” but only for tradespeople not say for your posh mother-in-law who is having a coffee morning.

  4. Do not speak French to him at all. Remember the master plan: provided we never make any effort at all to master any other language everyone else will have to learn English. So far it is all working beautifully.

  5. Rebecca – thanks. I have avoided the dilemma by calling in sick this morning …
    Anne – and I though the English were class ridden! I almost wish I had a posh French mother in law so I could address her as a tradesman now…
    Moobs – yes, but then the dastardly foreigners can speak about us in their foreign tongues without us knowing.

  6. No no. English will eat their languages from the inside out until they vanish. Japanese has so many cognates now it is beginning to sound like a dialect.

    Every time a frenchman mentions “le weekend” another Academician leaps from the Tour Eiffel and we move a step nearer our goal.

    Also, it will probably be in everyone’s best interests if we don;t know what the French are saying about us. We don’t need another war. If they want to insult us let them learn English and do it properly.

  7. heh heh – but 90% of English words (I read somewhere) originally came from somewhere else. And it doesn’t seem to have stopped it from flourishing like a weed… mongrel vigour, I suppose

  8. English is a mongrel hybrid of the tribal languages of the invaders that have popped by from time to time.
    Our language is probably more european than anyone else’s.

  9. I think that’s it’s strength …

  10. And a good reason why no other langauge is really necessary. We have a Kellogs Variety Pack of a language with a little of something for everybody.

    It is not just invader’s language either, but words from countries we invaded and traded with.

  11. So which bit of it is the little packet of All Bran that alway ends up sitting at the back of the cupboard gathering dust?

    Oh, I know, it’s phrases like ‘bite a chunk off the elephant’ …

  12. Next time he tries talking to you in that archaic tongue, brush him off with my usual reposte: ‘Desole, je parle francais comme une vache espagnol’. that usually does the trick. I should know, having lived in Paris for 2 years and managing very nicely with o’level french thank you very much (OK, so most deliveries go astray for some reason but I didn’t really need them anyway).

  13. Unfortunately I started it …

  14. what is ca va in french

  15. ‘that goes’ (or ‘it goes’)

    Short for ‘ca va bien? ‘ – i.e. ‘it goes well?’ – or rather ‘does it go well?’

    Response being ‘ca va bien, merci’, unless of course you’re feeling a bit crap…

  16. j’ai malade, je ne vais pas bien.

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