bah oui , ben oui


I hear a lot 'Bah Qui' or 'Bah Non'. I dont know if the word 'bah' is right or did I hear it wrong?
what is its meaning? and why not say 'oui' or 'non' directly?
This may be a trivial question but, Im curious to know :)


Moderator note: multiple threads merged to create this one
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Actually, I would say that you most probably heard ben oui rather than bah oui.
    Ben is a transformation of eh bien, meaning well...
    As babyburns stated, you can easily use ben oui when you don't really know the reply or the reason/grounds of a question. :)


    I think "bah" is coming from "eh bien".

    i think the meaning depends on the intonation you put in "bah".

    "bah oui..." or "bah non..." will show your hesitation
    "bah oui !" or "bah non !" will indicate the answer is quite obvious to you.

    just my own interpretation of it. :eek:


    Senior Member
    French - France
    "bah" is in fact written "ben".
    it can express hesitation, but also that something is really obvious.
    - Tu aimes les vacances ?
    - ben oui!


    UK, English
    > not quite a hesitation. when the answer is obvious, "ben oui" is used in place of "oui"

    So in the above example...

    - Tu aimes les vacances ?
    - ben oui! the person saying 'Er, yes' (i.e. not really) or 'Of course' (i.e. isn't it obvious? Doesn't everybody like holidays?)



    Senior Member
    French - France
    - tu aimes les vacances?
    - ben...oui (almost an interrogation ; we would even say "ben...ouais...")... (=hesitation)

    -ben oui!! (=obvious answer)

    donc : tout dépend de la façon dont on le dit!


    Senior Member
    Actually, bah is not only pronounced that way but also written that way sometimes. By youngsters on chatboards mainly.

    Before becoming an alteration of ben, the word bah had a life of its own with a different meaning. It usually expressed indifference. I'm not sure it's completely disappeared in that sense.


    Senior Member
    Quick question: is there a difference in pronoucation of 'ben' and 'bah'?

    'ben ouais' - well yeah.... et
    bah, y’a pas d’mal !' - so what? there's nothing wrong with it!



    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    French (lower Normandy)
    Quick question: is there a difference in pronouncation of 'ben' and 'bah'?
    Bah oui ! :eek: :D ;)
    Personally I think I tend to say "bah" rather than "ben".

    Anyway, there are not supposed to be pronounced the same way:
    "Bah" rhyming with "le chat verra un rat"
    "Ben" with "pain", "calin",...

    (but with an expression like "ben, chais pas" (I dunno), I'm not quite sure what's the first word I use :rolleyes: Certainly "ben" because it's easier to pronounce when you are lazy. I guess you have to open your mouth more when you say "bah")


    New Member
    Hello! I'm french so I'm sorry for all my mistakes!

    In France, we use "Bah" to say two things :
    - if the "bah" is long, it means an hesitation. In English, you can translate this by "er" or "um".
    - if the "bah" is short, it means the obviousness of the answer.

    In plain language, "bah oui" means "yes, obviously!!!" and "bah non" means "non of course!!!"
    "baaaaah oui" is used to say "I think it's yes but I'm not really sure..." and "baaaaah non" means the same thing but with "no" at the place of "yes".

    "Ben" is also used for the same sense. "Beeeeeeeeen oui/non" or "ben oui/non"

    This formulation is frequently used in France.

    I hope my explanation is clear...

    Good continuation! ;)
    Last edited: