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How To Say, Slang

Finland has a word for getting drunk at home in your underwear

.. and it’s everything we have ever needed. 

Have you ever done something and thought “I am sure there is a some foreign word that describes this exact thing, and if there isn’t there should be”.

We know about “hygge”, we know about “lagom”, and they might describe our lives as we picture them. But where are all the Scandinavian words that describe the reality of our lazy lives?

Well, Finland is slowly filling that gap of words that should have existed since the dawn of time. The word is “kalsarikännit” and it may seem like a mouthful, but it will be worth remembering.

It generally translates to “getting drunk in your underwear”, or more specifically “getting drunk alone at home in your underwear with no intention of going out”.

That last part may be implied, as I rarely get drunk alone in my underwear with the intention of getting out, but having that whole phrase said together makes you wonder how many other there are out there.

It’s one of those words that is comforting because if it’s a word, it means it’s a thing, and if it’s a thing – it’s okay to do it. That’s how this world works.

People on Twitter are also enthusiastic.



So, if your friends ask to describe what you are going to do during your weekend in one word, now you can. You are welcome ( I am hereby accepting ‘thanks’ in the name of the country of Finland)



Dialects, Slang

Le Verlan: Speaking Backwards in French

If you are learning French you might’ve heard of Verlan. The elusive and cryptic version of French, often referred to as speaking backwards in French. But what is Verlan?

Verlan is basically a type of slang most commonly used in ‘les banlieues’ by young people.

It’s often regarded as an identity marker, as it is used by second generation immigrants who despite being French, do not feel French, but also do not feel the same nationality as their parents. Therefore, they feel the need to form their own nationality, a mixture of French and their own, which is why the language of Verlan contains a lot of Arabic words and borrowings from other languages.

Verlan is formed by inverting the syllables in a French word, for instance bon-jour would be jour-bon in Verlan*. Hence it is referred to as speaking French backwards. (*This is not an actual word in Verlan)

Therefore, many Verlan words appear to be quite different from their French counterparts, due to this, many people refer to Verlan as a cryptic language, used by people who want to keep their conversation a secret from others.

Some Verlan words and expressions include:


Meuf= femme

Ouf= fou

Zyva= vas-y

Teuf= fête

Chelou= louche

It can be found in a variety of films, rap music and daily conversation. Films that contain Verlan include:  Les Keufs by Josiane Balasko, 1987; Les Ripoux by Claude Zidi, 1983; La Haine in 1995 and more recently, L’esquive, Kechiche, 2004 and Ch’tis in 2008.

Rap songs containing Verlan include: IAM; 113; Prodige Namor; Maitre Gims; Kerredine Soltani and Keblack.

Is it popular?

Verlan first hit the scenes in the 80’s and was incredibly popular. Some people argue that Verlan is not quite as popular nowadays, despite there is evidence of Verlan evolving into an intrinsic part of the French language.

For instance, many original Verlan words have become too mainstream, so have been reverlanised to maintain their cryptic nature, such as: beur (arabe) which is now rebeu. Furthermore, now we see the emergence of 3 distinct types of Verlan, the original Verlan used by the working class living in the banlieues; Verlan used by young, urban professionals who use it to show solidarity with migrant communities in the area; and lastly the Verlan used by teenagers to avoid authority figures and keep their conversations secret.

In conclusion, Verlan is a type of slang which is predominantly used by younger people, and like all slang it is constantly evolving. But if you’re ever in France, in the big cities, and you hear something that sounds French but not quite French you are probably listening to Verlan.