Ma poule, ma grosse (surnom affectueux)

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by sof411, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. sof411 New Member


    j'envoie une lettre à une amie en anglais pour son anniversaire et à la fin je voudrais mettre quelquechose du genre joyeux anniv "ma poule, ou poulette, ou ma grosse!"comme on dirais en france mais rien de péjoratif là dedans (je parle pour ma grosse) je recherche un petit nom plutot affectueux!
    est ce que dude ça irait? ou c'est juste pour les mecs? (car j'ai un amie irlandais qui m'appelle dude et pourtant je suis une filles!)
    merci de vos reponses!
  2. BERENICE S Senior Member


    Kitten, sweet heart,... (are kind and affectionate)


    PS : to my French feminine ear : "ma poule" or "ma grosse" sound pejorative -at least not like kind and affectionate words!!
  3. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland
    Here, "ma poule" is perfectly innocuous... No misunderstanding possible!

    There's aslo "Honey, sweety pie"...
  4. archijacq Senior Member

    french France
    j'aime bien: ma biche
  5. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland
    :) I think Sof was looking for English expressions/words!
  6. Sarah11 Senior Member

    UK English
    Oui ... on dit "dude" pour les filles aussi ... mais je trouve que c'est un peu des annees 80/90 ...

    On utilise aussi "chicken" et "duck" or "duckie" (c'est plutot qqch qu'on dit dans le nord d'Angleterre)

    Peut etre ca sera mieux a dire "Happy Birthday mate/ matey" ou "happy birthday me ole mucker" ....

    Elle vient d'ou ton amie?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2017
  7. Prisca22 Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English - USA
    Hi all you geniuses out there.

    I'm stuck with this term, that I understand, I think, but it's used for a man. The context is someone saying he's really hungry and wants to stop and grab something to eat. The reply is that they don't have time to stop now and that they'll eat later.
    The other member of the group says: "Tu as entendu, ma poule? Alors demande gentiment un petit chewing gum à tonton Marco et tu n'auras plus faim."
    It seems pretty obvious that the guy treating the other as poule is making fun of the one that's hungry. He's implying, it seems to me, that he's somewhat of a pussy for complaining he's hungry. The level of language is not that of a college graduate.
    "You heard, ma poule? Go on then and ask Uncle Marco for a piece of chewing gum and you won't feel hungry any longer."
    Any idea how to say ma poule, especially in a rather funny way?
  8. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member


    When was this written, and when is the story set in? "Ma poule" and "tonton Marco" sounds like something you might read in the French version of a Jack Kerouac novel! :) "Ma poule" is old-fashioned (and perhaps slightly patronizing), but I don't think it implies being a wimp (I came across "Allez, vieille vache !" in Jean Cocteau's La Machine Infernale, and apparently it was meant as an affectionate term between men at that time!).

    My first thought was "old chap", or something along those lines.
  9. Prisca22 Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English - USA
    Hi Oddmania,

    Thanks for your reply. This is a book written now, but the story takes place in the 1980s. I totally agree he's being patronizing, although the characters work together and like each other. The tonton part is him just saying let Uncle Marco take care of this, be a good kid and obey your Uncle Marco. There is also an affectionate part to the ma poule thing. My first thought in reading your suggestion, is that "old chap" would be too BE for the translation which is for the US market. But I'm perhaps wrong?
  10. DrChen

    DrChen Senior Member

    at first thought came "sugar", but then "You heard, sugar?" may sound like he's romantically attracted to his friend or something.
    What about "bunny"? It refers to an animal like poule does..?
  11. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    "Sugar" is a regionalism--from the US South. It's not widely used outside that region.

    Honey, darling, luv (BE only), duckie (BE only), sweetie come to mind here...

    Sometimes younger people who know each other well will use bitch here--in a playful way.
  12. joelooc

    joelooc Senior Member

    French (Provence)
    What about "pumpkin" or "punky"?
  13. Prisca22 Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English - USA
    Thanks for your inputs DrChen and Wildan1. Sugar could have been good: I think it's used all over English-speaking countries, but there's that romantic connotation that wouldn't work in this context. Honey, darling and sweetie could work though.
    You heard, honey? How about honey bun?
    You heard, darling?
    You heard, sweetie? How about sweetie pie?
    Would sugar plum have the same connotation?
  14. Prisca22 Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English - USA
    Joelooc, we posted at the same time. Yes, I think pumpkin could work.

    What do you all think of my post above?
  15. joelooc

    joelooc Senior Member

    French (Provence)
    I guess sweetheart might work, it would just add a different dimension coming from a male to another male.
  16. Prisca22 Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English - USA
    Hmm... sweetheart may be good too. I'd like to keep the teasing part. Do you think sweetheart would do it?
  17. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    Women seem to use the same terms for both genders, but in English men tend to use other terms of affection or friendship with other men than with women.

    Buddy, pal, mate (BE only), man, dude (under 30-40 years old only) would be more normal terms of affection/friendship for another man--unless perhaps between two gay men.
  18. DrChen

    DrChen Senior Member

    I like "you heard, honey?" as a reflection of what "ma poule" connotes in my head.
    But then it's only my head, and I am a French speaker, so my contribution might not be very valuable :)
  19. Prisca22 Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English - USA
    Couldn't a man use one of those terms a bit sarcastically to another? If not, it's perhaps untranslatable...
  20. petit1 Senior Member

    français - France
    Sunshine ?
  21. joelooc

    joelooc Senior Member

    French (Provence)
    Basically "ma poule" is an old expression used by men to refer to women in an affectionate albeit colloquial if not vulgar way. Maurice Chevalier's "Ah si vous connaissiez ma poule" was a hit in the 40's. It can also refer to a relationship outside of marriage and go as far as qualifying a femme entretenue.
    "Ma grosse", to my knowledge, was far more recently popularized (I would say the 80'S) and mainly used as a derogatory way to refer to one's wife/girlfriend/partner so as not to sound too corny or affectionate when speaking about a straight male/female relationship. More subjectively I would say it has been gradually coopted by woman- haters just the way" bitch" has evolved from being a strong insult to being used more mildly among youngsters, rubbing off, at the same time, gender differentiation.
    Used by a man to another man ma grosse as well as mon coco or mon kiki may have a mild gay connotation whether assumed or ignored.
    In the OP it was more of a young adult colloquial female to female talk; I was surprised no one suggested "cutie pie" which is characteristically a hit on expression used by men to adress a potential conquest.
    In Prisca 22's situation it's a bit more intricate. Wildan's bitch(post #11) looks a bit too strong to my continental ear but there is undoubtedly an element of domination in "ma poule" which wouldn't be as strong in "mon poulet"Viens ici mon poulet
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
  22. Prisca22 Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English - USA
    I think that sums it up nicely, Joelooc. Sunshine might work too (from post #20).
    Here are the possibilities, it seems to me: pumpkin, sweetheart, honey?, sunshine...

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