If you missed my Facebook update yesterday pointing to a guest post I wrote on Benjamin’s blog French Together, be sure to take a look:
In that post, one of the things I wrote about was the difference in meaning on either side of the Atlantic of the word gosses.
In France, gosses means “kids” — as in those little people who pee their bed at night and throw spaghetti across the table at suppertime.
But, in Québec, gosses means “balls” — as in those two round things that men sport between their legs and are otherwise known as the family jewels.
Yikes, that’s quite a difference in meaning.
Imagine an angry French father who says:
Touche pas à mes gosses.
The French hear: “Hands off my kids.”
The Québécois hear: “Hands off my balls.”
All joking aside, the Québécois are fully aware of the European meaning of the word gosses.
If a French person says gosses, his intention is understood by the Québécois, who’ll know he isn’t talking about testicles.
That said, gosses as a feminine noun really is the québécois equivalent for nuts or balls, so it’s best to stick with enfants when talking about kids in Québec.
It must sound funny to the French when they hear the Québécois refer to testicles as “the kids.”