Intonations, vocabulary borrowed from
Arabs or Anglo-Americans: the talk of the "lascars",
the language of the cities, is spreading to the rest of the society,
as affirmed by a specialized dictionary and the magazine "Phosphore",
consecrated to the "high school years".
"Do you know how to speak
Djeuns?," asks the March issue of the magazine "Phosphore".
The "monthly of the high school years" (5.50 euros)
could have very well formulated the question thus: "Do you
know how to speak the French of the suburbs?" as much as
the words and the intonations of the youth of the cities are
found again in the mouths of the majority of those under the
age of 25, regardless of social category. In testament to the
success of the "meufs" (women) and the "keufs"
(cops), consecrated by their entry in Le Petit Robert, the official
French dictionary, in 1993 and 1995 respectively. "Even
after going to Parisien schools, one speaks the language of the
lascars" states Jean-Pierre Goudaillier, linguistic professor
at the Sorbonne University in Paris.
The "language of the lascars"
is a hybrid language that mixes slang, verlan (a version of slang
where the syllables of certain words are inverted), and borrowings
from other languages. Thus "hralouf" (pig) is borrowed
from Arabic. A "bédo" that designates a joint
(hashish) is a derivation from a gipsy idiom, as is "chourav"
(to steal). The borrowings from the Anglo-American are legion:
"looker" for the french "regarder", that
can become "keulou" in verlan; "destroy"
for the french word "détruire"... The "Djeuns"
don't scorn as many words from the old french slang: "s'arracher"
for "to escape"; the "taf" for "work"...
They also manifest a sharp sense of metaphor, from which comes
the famous "airbags" for the breasts that distinguish
a beautiful girl, a pretty "belette".
Original article by Philippe
Translated by David Sadegh