13 November, 2006

A short French lesson

One of the French songs I've run across is called "Laisse béton." This has confused me for a while. Not too much, 'cause the band's weird enough that I can totally believe that they come up with their song names (and lyrics) by pulling words out of a hat, but still a little.

The reason this title confuses me is that it translates to "let concrete."

Laisse is the informal you form of laisser, which translates roughly to let (as in laissez-faire economy- let it do (faire) whatever it wants to). Béton means concrete.

However: today in French class we started discussing "verlan," which is a form of French slang spoken by the poor (immigrant) kids in the suburbs. To form verlan you basically take the first and last syllables of the word and reverse them. So... when you take "laisse tomber," which means "drop it!" and verlan the "tomber," you get... "Laisse béton!"

Mystery solved.


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