mercredi 11 juin 2008

Relancer, Nickel and Yes.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed based on Maki’s last post, things have been a bit hectic chez Makietdiego lately, which explains why we’ve had other things on our minds than posting on the blog. I have my own “big news” brewing: or then again maybe not, so I’ll keep you in suspense for now. Apologies to our loyal readers and to the random people who get sent here from Google (no I don’t know how you dial a toll free number from a public telephone in France). Hopefully things will be back to calm and normal soon. Oh, and big up whoever is reading this in South Korea, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. Google Analytics rules! You also realize that by reading this blog you are legally bound to let me crash on your couch when I visit your town/country/tropical island paradise. Just thought you should know. Please encourage all your friends who live in tropical island paradises to check out the blog.

But enough with the personal business: the purpose of today’s post is to teach you a few French expressions that I’ve picked up from my colleagues at work.

1) Relancer: Literally means to re-launch. The real meaning is more like pestering somebody to do something. I hear this one every day at work. See, I’m really not that busy. That’s not because I don’t have a good deal of work to do. It’s because I’m waiting for various of my colleagues to provide feedback/input/contributions to the projects, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. All my colleagues seem to be much busier than I am (never a good sign), or at least far to busy to get around to what I need them to do. Of course, I then have to pass the work on to other colleagues who are waiting for me. So whenever they ask me what the status is, and I answer “I’m waiting for Francois/Pierre/Claude to send me their documents”, they will tell me “il faut que tu relances”. In other words, you have to go pester Francois/Pierre/Claude or otherwise they’ll never get around to you. There seems to be an awful lot of relancer-ing going on in my office.

2) Nickel: A particular favorite of my immediate supervisor, this word means, in the slang sense, well done or perfect. When I do a good job, my supervisor tells me “c’est nickel” which is better than “who's a good boy?”, I suppose.

3) Yes?: You know this one. Actually I don’t hear this one so much at work, but pretty much everywhere else. Shopkeepers and waiters are especially fond of it. Notice the interrogatory mark at the end. This should make it clear that this word is not used here as an affirmative response to a question, but rather as a brief and grunted “what do you want?”. For example, you’ll walk into a shop and the person behind the counter will glance up at you, give you a look that asks “why are you interrupting my reading of this celebrity gossip tabloid?” and then say “yes?”. Why they say it in English, I have no idea. At first I thought they only said it to me because I looked foreign, but no, it’s said all the time to everyone. Maybe the French believe that monosyllabic grunts sound somehow classier in English than in French. To me, it sounds about as pretentious and ridiculous as the cashier at Publix/Safeway/Tesco* saying “oui?”

*note that this blog is multi-region friendly. If I knew the names of major supermarket chains in South Korea, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates I would include them, too, but alas I do not.

2 commentaires:

Colleen (CQ in DC / quinncx) a dit…

Diego- let me hook you up here with some local random knowledge for future efforts to bolster random readership. The Sultan Center is the big grocery store in Kuwait, and it is Mercator in Bosnia. Feel free to pepper at will!

Diego a dit…

No readers from Kuwait or Bosnia yet.
We'll have to see if that works.