1. charlie2 Senior Member

    To the chinese, 2005 is the year of "le coq". Our French teacher asked us whether we knew why "le coq" is used to represent "les Francais". Nobody knew. He said and I quote (please, it is just a quote from him, in English) : That's because le coq is the only bird which can still sing with its feet in shit.
    I could not believe my ears. I asked : C'est vrai? And he said : oui, oui. I asked again : Tu plaisantes?! He acted out le coq in shit in response.
    Okay, was he joking? :confused: If he was not, is what he described a positive quality to the French people? If he was, what is the reason for picking le coq ?
    This seems to be the better place to pose this question, although it seems to be more a cultural issue. Thank you.
  2. fetchezlavache

    fetchezlavache Senior Member

    metz, france
    here is what i found

  3. fetchezlavache

    fetchezlavache Senior Member

    metz, france
  4. charlie2 Senior Member

    I am still in the first paragraph of the article you kindly posted and I will carefully read the article. I do not intend to apologize if my question makes you unhappy. (I have reservations, to say the least, about what my teacher said.) I could not start to apologize for my teacher as a representative of the French people in Hong Kong, although you did not choose him to be there. I will now go back to my reading.
  5. fetchezlavache

    fetchezlavache Senior Member

    metz, france
    don't worry charlie2, it's a simple joke .... don't worry ok ? :)
  6. charlie2 Senior Member

    Thank you, you educated me. I have finished the article.
    It's just that :
    1. I don't think it's something one should joke about as a teacher of a foreign language.
    2. Your posts are always colourful and lively, as if you are talking in front of me. Suddenly you posted this. It made me think that you must be so mad and you're really trying to "contain" yourself, so to speak.
    Thanks again.
  7. Shark

    Shark Senior Member

    France - French
    Charlie, it's not the first time I hear this joke about le coq français. Your teacher didn't make it up. Even it is said a bit abruptly, you can interpret it as the way French people don't lose panache and pride even when they are in a worrying situation.

    RODGER Senior Member

    Hi Charlie 2,
    Well, it is what you call a cultural issue, but language is one of the expressions of a culture, so you can't have one without the other. Having read the thread so far, I am not sure that you have understood what the joke is that fetchezlavache is referring to, so, if yuo haven't, let me try to explain, through the eyes of an English, Paris-based francophile, what I think is going on here.

    The cock has all these qualities, it is proud, courageous, has its own opinions and is fecund. It also symbolises hope and faith. However, when things become too serious, French people, like people all over the world, like to make fun of things, so as to place them on a more familiar, human level, because they feel that if the cock represents the French people, they couldn't possibly be proud, courageous, hopeful, fecund and full of faith every day of their lives ! So, they deflate this image, like you would deflate a balloon by pricking it with a pin, and they laugh at themselves, and say that sometimes these qualities of pride and speaking out about how good things are, are not justified by the real situation. So, they say that the cock (that is, the French people) is the only animal which sings while it has its feet in the shit (for example a bad economic situation). I think it is a very good thing that they are able to criticise themselves in this way and not be deceived by false hopes. One more thing, "merde" is not a very shocking word in French, as it is English. That's just a difference in culture !

    I hope this helps


  9. fetchezlavache

    fetchezlavache Senior Member

    metz, france

    oh dear me nooooooooooo i wasn't angry, i was annoyed at myself to tell you the truth, because i had posted that the rooster was only our symbol in sports occurences, then i decided to do some research, and found the first text, and then deleted my first post and posted the text, all of that whilst chastising myself for being so ignorant ! hence the brief and abrupt post.... i am really sorry charlie if i have caused confusion, you're always so sweet, phew it's just a misunderstanding... :)
  10. charlie2 Senior Member

    I'm glad that I check the posts before going to bed. I can really sleep tight. Perhaps I could get overly sensitive sometimes. I would not be so bothered if our teacher had added a bit of the historical background about le coq on top of the joke.
    But then if he had done that, I would not have started this thread and I would not be receiving so many reassuring mails. ;)
  11. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    I agree with Shark, Charlie : it's a very well-known joke, I've heard it many times and as a French person I've never found it offensive, quite the opposite un fact!

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