Lezioni Francese

Argomenti

Telling Jokes in French

Our friend Lionel is known for his witty puns and excellent comedic timing. He even filmed a standup set for Yabla! Apparently, a good sense of humor runs in his family. In Lionel's latest video, his cousin Jean-Pierre cracks a joke about the Vosges mountain range: 

 

Y a une blague à propos de... justement des Vosges du Nord. Quand on voit pas les Vosges du Nord, c'est qu'il pleut. Et quand on les voit bien, c'est qu'il va pleuvoir.

There's a joke about... precisely about the Northern Vosges. When you don't see the Northern Vosges, it's because it's raining. And when you see them clearly, it means that it's going to rain.

Captions 85-90, Lionel - à Lindre-Basse - Part 7

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

If you didn't laugh at Jean-Pierre's joke, you probably had to be there (near the Northern Vosges, that is). 

 

Une blague doesn't only refer to a verbal joke. It can also be a trick or a prank you play on someone: 

 

On va leur faire une bonne blague!

We're going to play a nice trick on them!

Caption 23, Il était une fois - Notre Terre - 9. Les écosystèmes - Part 4

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Une farce and un tour are the other words for "trick," "prank," or "practical joke":

 

Une farce joyeuse et de franche gaieté.

A joyous prank with uninhibited gaiety.

Caption 10, Il était une fois... l’Homme - 6. Le siècle de Périclès - Part 4

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Ils ont plus d'un tour dans leur sac.

They have more than one trick in their bag [up their sleeves].

Caption 34, Il était une fois... la vie - 14. La bouche et les dents - Part 6

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There's also another word for "joke": une plaisanterie. This example explains what happens in your body when you laugh at a joke: 

 

Vous savez que ce sont les lèvres glottiques qui sous l'effet d'une plaisanterie se mettent à vibrer.

You know that it's the glottic folds that start vibrating when a joke is told.

Captions 8-9, Le Journal - Les effets bénéfiques du rire!

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So how do you say "to crack a joke" or "to tell a joke" in French? You can either say raconter une plaisanterie or raconter une blague

 

Il aime raconter des plaisanteries [or des blagues] grivoises.
He loves to tell dirty jokes

 

But if you're talking about "joking" or "joking/messing around," then you use the verbs plaisanter or blaguer:

 

Ils blaguaient tout le temps pendant leur enfance.
They always used to joke around when they were little. 

 

Tu plaisantes! Je ne crois pas ça. -Non, je ne plaisante pas! 
You're kidding! I don't believe that. -No, I'm not kidding!

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Thanks for reading! We'll be back soon with a new lesson. Sans blague! (No joke!)

Vocabulary

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