1. ataraxy3 Senior Member

    NY, USA
    English
    Bonjour, I'm translating a story with the phrase "cul de poule" in it, and i'm assuming it's vulgar, but I just don't know. The context is a teacher teaching some Algerian Muslim kids how to pronounce the word "estuaire":

    Elle épelle le mot, insiste sur le U. Ils suivent le mouvement de la bouche, les lèvres en avant comme pour siffler. Entre eux, ils disent, dans leur langue - en cul de poule-. Ils rient.

    ... in their own language - in ass of chicken -. ...

    What is the significance of the phrase "in their own language" ?

    Merci beaucoup!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2013
  2. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    If the teacher doesn't speak Arabic, then they would naturally mock her in the language that she doesn't understand.

    The phrase "en cul de poule" is, I suppose, what they say to each other to mock the teacher - that she's made her mouth look like a hen's ass by making the "u" sound.

    I haven't looked at enough hen's asses to verify that this is a correct description on the part of the boys, but it does seem plausible, given the odd shape of the puckered lips needed to produce the "u."
     
  3. Michelvar

    Michelvar quasimodo

    Marseille - France
    French from France
    It's not vulgar, it's a set phrase we use in French to designate how to put the lips to pronounce the "u" sound.
     
  4. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    And I always trust the French when it comes to poultry-related matters.
     

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