Whether you come to Burkina fluent in French or knowing nothing at all it’s necessary to pick up some slang in order to understand Burkinabé in every day situations, unless you want to be completely perdu.
So for the French speakers, and curious alike, I’ve collected a little list of phrases I hear in Burkina all the time that are technically considered slang.
- C’est gate- It’s broken. Only used for items, not for bones.
- Ça fait deux jours- It’s been a long time since we have seen each other.
- Ça chauffe- It’s hot as in temperature, or the location your at (like a club) is jumping.
- Ça va aller- Literally, “it’s going to go,” meaning it’ll all work out.
- Ça va un peu- A response to “ça va/ comment ça va?/ comment vous aller?” meaning things aren’t going well
- Coin- A corner or place you hang out.
- Faire gombo- To do woek on the side for extra money.
- Faux type- A bad person that is only trying to take advantage of you
- Mon/Ma type- A nice person or close friend. Typically used before starting to explain something amazing/funny/unbelievable that happened to you.
- Ganger petit- To have a baby
- Je demande la route- A polite way to say you are going to head home.
- Je suis en bouille- Literally, “I am boiling,” meaning I’m really angry.
- La- Literaly meaning, “there,” but is used in place of “here” (ici) no matter what. (Ex. “Je suis la.”)
- Laisser tomber- “To let fall,” meaning to break up with someone, or to let something go by the wayside/give something up.
- On dit quoi?- Meaning “what’s up.”
- Ou bien?- “Or what?” Used only as a tag question, and adds emphasis. (Ex. “C’est bon, ou bien?” Or “Tu va fait le traville, ou bien?”
- Pas de quoi- “No problem,” or “Don’t mention it.”
- Quoi- Another “or what?” tag question that adds emphasis. (Ex. “C’est bon quoi?”)
- Sans soucis- Meaning, “no worries.”
- Tantie – Meaning “auntie”, it’s said ass a sign of respect of someone you are both close and not that close to. (Also what female preschool teachers are called by students.)
- Tonton- Meaning “uncle”, it’s also said as a sign of respect like tantie.(Also what male preschool teachers are called by students.)
- Truc- Another word for “thing.”
À la prochaine!