Posts Tagged ‘boulimique’

Lettre d'une boulimique [Urbania]

Lettre d’une boulimique [illustration by Catherine Potvin]

In an interesting text called “Lettre d’une boulimique,” written by an anonymous author and published on Urbania, we read about the struggles of one person with bulimia, called la boulimie in French. A person who suffers from bulimia is un or une boulimique.

To help out a little with understanding the text, here’s a look at some of the vocabulary used in it.

The author begins with:

On a tous déjà pris du poids, à un moment donné dans nos vies. Ceux pour qui c’est pas le cas, vous êtes chanceux, mais j’vous emmerde un peu.

We’ve all put on weight at one point or another in our lives. For those of you who haven’t, you’re lucky, but you can also kind of go to hell.

The expression prendre du poids means “to gain weight.” Its opposite is perdre du poids, “to lose weight.” The expression à un moment donné is used frequently in French. It means “at some point.”

The expression je vous emmerde (and je t’emmerde) can be translated with varying degrees of strength, depending on the context. It can mean “fuck you,” but because I felt this was too strong for the example above, I’ve rendered it instead as “you can go to hell.” It can also mean “screw you.”

The author continues:

La balance, quand on regarde ça objectivement, c’est juste notre rapport avec la gravité. No big deal, comme y disent. Sauf que comme vous le savez tous, dans la société où on vit, c’est quand même pas mal un big deal.

The scale, when looked at objectively, is just a measure of the force of gravity on our bodies. No big deal, as they say. Except, as you all know, in the society we live in, it is a big deal though.

There’s that expression pas mal again. Remember, pas mal isn’t a negation. It’s an intensifier. We can often translate pas mal as “pretty” in English. T’es pas mal jeune or t’es jeune pas mal means “you’re pretty young.” Other times, we might need to use other words in English to translate it, like “really” or “quite.” Using the expression big deal from the text:

C’est un big deal.
It’s a big deal.

C’est pas mal un big deal.
It’s really a big deal.

C’est quand même pas mal un big deal.
It’s really a big deal though.

When you say pas mal, those two words are said together:
c’est / quand même / pas mal / un big deal.

In the next bit of text, the author uses the verb pogner.

Regardons la réalité en face. Si on est mince, on pogne plus, on n’a pas à se sentir jugés quand on prend une poutine au resto, pis on risque de plus se faire engager si on a un beau body que si on a un surplus lipidique.

Let’s face it. If you’re thin, then you’re more attractive, you won’t feel like you’re being judged negatively if you order poutine at the restaurant, and you have more chances of being hired if you’ve got a nice bod instead of a surplus of fat.

We’ve seen the verb pogner a lot recently, especially in the book title Ah shit, j’ai pogné le cancer, written by Maude Schiltz. The informal verb pogner is used in Québec in the sense of “to catch.”

In the quote above, what the author means with on pogne plus is that if you’re thin, you’re more “catchy” — catchy in the sense of being physically attractive. You can understand pogner here as meaning “to be desirable,” and on pogne plus as meaning “one is more desirable.”

The expression pogner avec les filles means “to be lucky with girls.” A person qui pogne avec les filles is considered to be attractive by girls and has no trouble finding girlfriends. When it’s with the boys that someone is “catchy,” the expression is pogner avec les gars. Remember, gars is pronounced gâ.

Y pogne avec les filles.
Girls love him. Girls think he’s hot.

It’s not just people who can be catchy; a song can pogner too, for example. Une chanson qui pogne is a catchy song, a hit.

If you’d like to read the entire text on Urbania, you can do that here.

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French quotes written by Anonymous in “Lettre d’une boulimique,” published on Urbania, 9 May 2014.

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