1. tbessie Junior Member

    San Francisco, CA
    English - USA
    When I lived in France many years ago (around 1991) I seem to recall a guy I knew saying "je suis charbon" when he was very drunk or very stoned.

    I've asked French friends this, and at least the ones I asked don't seem familiar with that usage.

    Is that a current slang usage? Perhaps it didn't last long and was only used by a subset of young people?

    - Tim
     
  2. Michelvar

    Michelvar quasimodo

    Marseille - France
    French-France
    Hi,

    no, it is not a current usage. In fact, the set expression is "être gris", to say that you are a drunk. That's why the "drunk tank" in a police station is called "une cellule de dégrisement".

    From that, of course, it is easy to understand that, if you feel more than drunk, "plus que gris", it will obviously become "je suis noir", and, by derivation, "je suis charbon", "je suis carbonisé", and everything related to the black color.
     
  3. LART01

    LART01 Senior Member

    The Hague,Netherlands
    French-France
    Hello
    Je connais
    être au charbon
    être sur des charbons ardents

    mais, je suis charbon, est inconnu au bataillon!
     
  4. Lucky19 Senior Member

    Brive
    Français de France
  5. tbessie Junior Member

    San Francisco, CA
    English - USA
    Thanks for the information, folks! This fellow was only around 17 or 18 at the time, so it might just've been some slang he and his friends used among themselves.

    - Tim
     
  6. EmmanuelM Senior Member

    Paris
    French
    "Being drunk", "slang" and "1991", all this reminds me of an incredibly popular trio of that time amongst the French 16-25 yo, Les Inconnus, who had a classic act about three men from the South of France discussing about their hangover. It was not "Je suis charbon", but "Je suis casquette" and "Je suis torchon (chiffon) (carpette)". Maybe this new set of words of slang about being drunk made your friend invent his own words ?

    Another possibility, having nothing to do with the above, is "Je suis carbo" (carbonisé).
     
  7. tbessie Junior Member

    San Francisco, CA
    English - USA
    Ha! I used to watch Les Inconnus all the time; being new to France and French at the time, their broad, silly comedy was enjoyable even if I didn't get all the subtleties. I'm sure the folks I met while there (which was in the South, too - my first job in France was in Toulon and Cannes) watched those guys too. The fellow I was talking about was from Montpellier.

    I own the complete Les Inconnus DVD set, actually.

    What would "Je suis carbo/carbonisé" mean?

    ....

    - Tim
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013
  8. Michelvar

    Michelvar quasimodo

    Marseille - France
    French-France
    Carbonisé = burnt out = black = drunk

    Everything that infers the idea of "black" or "gray" can be used to create a new word for "drunk".
     
  9. tbessie Junior Member

    San Francisco, CA
    English - USA
    Thanks again!

    - Tim
     

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